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House Votes Partial Repeal of McCarran-Ferguson

The U.S. House overwhelmingly approved a bill to repeal some provisions in the McCarran-Ferguson Act that provide antitrust exemptions for health insurance companies
March 29, 2017

The U.S. House overwhelmingly approved a bill to repeal some provisions in the McCarran-Ferguson Act that provide antitrust exemptions for health insurance companies despite the objections of industry representatives. On a 416-7 vote, the House approved H.R. 372, the Competitive Health Insurance Reform Act of 2017.

A repeal of the McCarran-Ferguson Act for health insurance would be necessary to permit one of the GOP’s ideas, allowing health insurance sales across state lines. PIA along with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) strongly opposes the idea. PIA notes it would strip states of their regulatory authority over insurance and undermine the foundation on which state regulation of insurance is based. State governors, legislators and regulators know best what will work in their unique markets, and what will not work. Allowing health insurance to be effectively exempt from state regulation by permitting insurers to pick their own regulator in one state—and by so doing, evade the requirements of all 49 other states—would, by federal edict, eviscerate local control.

“All insurance is local,” said PIA National Executive Vice President & CEO Mike Becker. “This is especially true of health insurance. Proposals that would preempt state authority and not allow states to form compacts among themselves effectively turn aside the collective expertise of the states. The path to constructing a replacement for the ACA should lead to more state control, not less. This proposal would transfer power from the states to the federal government.”

“Permitting the designation of any one state as regulator for all states would, in essence, impose a one-size-fits-all solution dictated by Washington, D.C.—which, ironically, has been one of the main criticisms of the ACA,” said Becker.