PROVIDING FOR CONSIDERATION OF H.R. 5, HELP EFFICIENT, ACCESSIBLE, LOW-COST, TIMELY HEALTHCARE (HEALTH) ACT OF 2005 -- (House of Representatives - July 27, 2005)
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Mr. DeFAZIO. I thank the gentleman for yielding time.
Mr. Speaker, this is a perfect bill. It must be perfect because not one amendment will be allowed, including my amendment. Now, the Republicans say free markets. We want free markets. How come we do not have a free market in insurance, I ask them? The insurance industry is exempt from the antitrust law. They can and do get together legally and collude to drive up the price of insurance for every American in every line of insurance. Not just medical malpractice. That is legal for the insurance industry. It is not legal for the two corner gas stations. They would go to Federal prison. It is not legal for any other industry in America. But they would not allow a vote on my amendment just to say, let us have a market in insurance. Let us take away their antitrust exemption. Let us have competition. Maybe that will lower prices. They seem to believe in competition until their pockets are being filled at election time by an industry that is exempt from competition. But they say they are going to solve the problem here tonight with this bill.
Now, the other thing the gentleman from Georgia is not talking much about is why we should exempt the pharmaceutical industry for deadly and dangerous drugs, people who have died and been seriously injured, from any liability. What other industry in America has that exemption? So this is sort of a perfect bill; is it not? The two largest contributors to the Republicans are the pharmaceutical and insurance industries. The insurance industry is exempt from competition and antitrust law, and now they want to exempt the pharmaceutical industry from having to pay people for having killed their spouse, their children, or having perhaps caused so-called brain damage or a so-called heart attack or something else with a defective product. That is unbelievable.
I wish the gentleman would spend the rest of his time talking about why the pharmaceutical industry needs an exemption when they have actually maimed or killed people. If we are going to extend it to the pharmaceutical industry, how about the automobile industry? We have got a lot of industries in America that could use an exemption from liability that have to pay and go to court now. But, no, they are saying the pharmaceutical industry should not have to do that, because, as we know, they have the best interests of Americans at heart. That is why they do not want to allow us to import cheaper drugs from Canada, and they are threatening the Canadian Government. That is why they are the most consistently profitable industry in America when our seniors are cutting their drugs in half. No, they need protection from this horrible scourge of being sued when they have sold a defective product like Vioxx and actually concealed the tests from the American people and perhaps from the FDA.
I wish the gentleman would spend the rest of his time defending the antitrust exemption for the insurance industry, because if he believes in free markets, he should support my amendment. It should be part of this bill. We should get to vote on that. We should say, let us have competition in insurance. That will help the doctors. It is not the total solution, there are other things that need to be done, but that certainly would help the doctors.
It would help every other American with every other line of insurance, too. Your car insurance might come down. Your homeowner insurance might come down. But they do not want to allow that vote, and now they want to have a huge new exemption for the pharmaceutical industry. I guess we know who is lining up behind their next campaign with very generous contributions.
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