Trump Signs Bill Voiding McCarran-Ferguson Protections for Health Carriers
President Donald Trump signed H.R. 1418 to repeal the partial antitrust protections afforded to health and dental insurers, a measure opposed by both the health insurance industry and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. The bill ends the longstanding antitrust exemption for the health insurance industry under the McCarran-Ferguson Act of 1945, according to a statement from bill sponsor U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Oregon). Supporters of the bill suggest it is a consumer-friendly anti-price-gouging tool. It was passed in December by unanimous consent in the U.S. Senate and by voice vote in the House over the objections of health insurers and the NAIC, which said state antitrust laws sufficiently protect consumers.
“Removal of this exemption adds tremendous administrative costs while delivering absolutely no value for patients and consumers,” Matt Eyles, president and chief executive officer of America’s Health Insurance Plans, told AM Best in December. “It will unnecessarily add layers of bureaucracy, destabilize markets, create conflicting federal and state oversight requirements and lead to costly litigation.”