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Go All Out: End Price-fixing by Insurers

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from The Hill

There is gathering momentum in both the House and Senate to repeal the antitrust exemption for insurers, which I proposed three weeks ago in my column, "Optional health deal." The reaction I have received is powerful and electric. That column has been at the top, or near the top, of the most widely read pieces on for three solid weeks, which is unheard of for a modest columnist such as myself.

My phone has been ringing. The e-mails have been coming. Many from insider Democrats who believe it is time to end price-fixing by insurers, once and for all.

Why is the insurance industry allowed to do what would be illegal in virtually every other industry? Look at the number of states without real competition. Look at the premium increases in state after state, which can be called price-gouging.

Only yesterday one cable television segment described a disabled American who is being forced out of his insurance. An internal memo within the insurance company asked if they could eliminate coverage for all of these "dogs."

This good patriotic American is fighting back by saying, "I am not a dog." Disabled Americans are not dogs. No company should private call its good customers "dogs." There is an attitude adjustment called for here and it is time to lay down the law, not let insurers be exempt from the law.
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Eliminate the antitrust exemption. Restore the rule of law. Bring back real competition. Protect American consumers. End price-fixing. Now. Along with passing the public option. Enough is enough.

There are principled Republicans and conservatives who have supported antitrust laws that would end price-fixing and restore real competition. I applaud them.

There are other Republicans who have an outmoded and warped view that price-fixing is fine, that competition can be a charade. And there are Republicans who are simply bought and paid for by those who fix prices and others who call their disabled customers dogs when they think nobody is watching.

And there are a handful of Democrats who also place campaign donations ahead of protecting the public. They should be held to account as well.

We are watching. We should act. We should repeal the antitrust exemption for insurers fully and completely and make price-fixing, price-gouging and collusion illegal for insurers, as those practices are for other companies.
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Brent Budowsky is a regular columnist on He served as Legislative Assistant to U.S. Senator Lloyd Bentsen, responsible for commerce and intelligence matters, including one of the core drafters of the CIA Identities Law. Served as (more...)

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that the House passed legislation to rescind thean... by John Sanchez Jr. on Wednesday, Oct 21, 2009 at 4:24:04 PM
was to pass the bill out of committee, and I belie... by John Sanchez Jr. on Thursday, Oct 22, 2009 at 5:51:13 AM
You know the insurance companies are going to be h... by Paula Sayles on Thursday, Oct 22, 2009 at 7:43:16 AM