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Gosar Takes Initial Step to Repairing Healthcare System

17 February 2017  
Basic message? Bring competition back to the health insurance market.

As Republicans in Congress struggle with finding the best way to dismantle Obamacare, Representative Paul Gosar [AZ-04] isn’t interested in waiting. Today, Gosar testified before the House Judiciary’s Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law during a legislative hearing on H.R. 372, the bill he introduced on January 9, 2017.

It has long been Gosar’s goal to inject competition to the business of health insurance. HR 372 would do that by restoring the application of federal anti-trust laws to the health insurance industry. It would increase competition and lower prices for consumers.

" The continued exemption of the health insurance industry from the full application of federal anti-trust laws has had an unfair impact on consumers;” Gosar testified. “It shows up as artificially higher premiums, unfair insurance restrictions, harmful policy exclusions, and simply no diversity of choice."

“Hospitals, doctors and most importantly, patients benefit when health insurers compete to provide quality coverage,” Gosar explained when he introduced the bill.

Graphic from Representative Gosar's site.

Congressman Scott DesJarlais, from Tennessee agreed. "Since its inception, contrary to its designers’ promises, Obamacare was designed as a giveaway to powerful Washington special interests, resulting in fewer choices and higher costs for health care consumers. I’m proud to join Congressman Gosar and more of my House colleagues to offer today’s bill, which puts power in the hands of the American people, both patients and their doctors. Removing artificial barriers, such as state monopolies for the biggest insurance carriers, would increase access and affordability for millions of people still under- or uninsured, despite Obamacare’s enormous price tag and taxes. Our goal is rising job growth, wages, and patients’ ability to make their own health care decisions with their own hard-earned money. Costs and also quality will improve under our replacement plan."

This bill is not meant to be the final solution to Obamacare. But, Gosar believes it will benefit consumers of health care coverage and help foster a patient-centric healthcare market.


Here is the press release regarding Thursday’s testimony before the Regulatory Committee:

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Congressman Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. (AZ-04) released the following excerpt from his testimony before the House Judiciary’s Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law during a legislative hearing on his bill, H.R. 372, the Competitive Health Insurance Reform Act of 2017:

“As Congress once again faces the preeminent task of repairing our nation’s health care system, first and foremost, we must establish the proper foundation for a competitive and consumer-driven health insurance marketplace. The Competitive Health Insurance Reform Act of 2017 will restore the application of federal anti-trust and competition laws to the health insurance industry.

“Ending this special-interest exemption is the essential first step to broader healthcare reform. Popular cost-reducing reform priorities – such as selling insurance across state lines and developing diverse consumer-driven plans – are predicated on the robust competitive markets this bill will ensure.

“As a healthcare provider for more than 25 years, I understand first-hand the importance of a competitive and dynamic health insurance market. Patients, doctors, and hospitals alike benefit when health insurers compete to provide a variety quality coverage options.

“Imagine what could exist when we put the patient first and demand that health insurance companies compete for their business. This market should be patient-centric, provide a variety of affordable, quality options, and empower patient involvement and accountability.

“The passage of the Competitive Health Insurance Reform Act into law is an important first step towards increasing competition in health insurance markets, and will assist with setting the foundation for real, competitive, and patient-centered healthcare reform.”

Background:

Congressman Gosar’s full statement from today’s hearing can be found HERE.

Video of today’s hearing can be found HERE.

The full text of the Competitive Health Insurance Reform Act of 2017 can be found HERE.

The Congressman’s legislation is endorsed by: American Dental Association, American Optometric Association and American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons.

The Competitive Health Insurance Reform Act of 2017 amends a section of the McCarran-Ferguson Act of 1945, which exempted the insurance industry from the Sherman Act and the Clayton Act – acts that have the purpose of ensuring fair competition. This broad exemption was intended to assist newly established insurance companies set sustainable premiums by permitting data sharing between insurance companies. These antiquated exemptions are no longer necessary. There is no reason in law, policy, or logic for the insurance industry to have special exemptions that are different from all other businesses in the United States.

Repeal of the specific sections of the McCarran-Ferguson Act which apply to health insurance has bipartisan support. A form of this legislation passed the Democratic-controlled House during the 111th Congress 406 - 19 (Roll no. 64) and passed the Republican-led House in the 112th Congress by a voice vote.

This anti-trust reform provision is included in the Republican Study Committee’s healthcare reform bill and discussed in the Speaker’s “A Better Way” white paper.

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Lynne LaMaster