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Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke Votes to Restore Competition In The Health Insurance Marketplace

Today, Rep. Yvette D. Clarke voted to ensure that American consumers get a real choice and a fair deal when purchasing health insurance. H.R. 4626, “The Health Insurance Industry Fair Competition Act” will take away the anti-trust exemption for health insurance companies, requiring them to compete fairly and adhere to the same anti-trust laws as other companies.

“For too long, health insurance companies have not played by the rules. Now they must be held accountable,” said Rep. Clarke. “Middle-class families are facing higher premiums, a lower quality of coverage and limited choices – all while the insurance companies are jacking up prices and turning record profits. Healthcare is a fundamental human right, rather than a commodity.”

For 65 years, the health insurance industry has been legally exempt from anti-trust laws, and the federal government was banned from even investigating evidence of possible collusion. In the last 14 years alone, there have been 400 mergers among health insurers and now 94% of all insurance markets are “highly concentrated” – meaning consumers have little or no choice between insurance providers.

Health insurers that were previously exempt from anti-trust laws will now bear legal responsibility for price fixing, dividing up territories among themselves and sabotaging their competitors in order to gain a monopoly in the marketplace. Such practices have been outlawed in other industries for decades.

“This legislation creates more competition between health insurance companies, guaranteeing two things for consumers: more choices and lower costs. Competition is the engine that drives economic growth, spurs American innovation, and ensures that consumers are getting a fair deal. I am proud that my colleagues in the House passed a bill that restores fairness in the health insurance marketplace,” stated Congresswoman Clarke.