Today, Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) and Congressman Dan Benishek, M.D. (R-Mich.) introduced H.R. 4077, the "Quality Health Care Coalition Act of 2014." This legislation provides a limited antitrust exemption for physicians in negotiations with private insurance companies, giving health care providers the ability to negotiate contract terms on an equal level with insurers, including terms that affect the quality of patient care. Comparable legislation has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives since the 107th Congress, and a similar bill passed the House in 2000. After the introduction of the legislation, Representative Conyers, Representative Benishek, and Joshua J. Jacobs, M.D., the President of the American Association of Orthopedic Surgeons issued the following statement:
Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.): "Over the last several decades, the health insurance market has become exceedingly concentrated, dominated by a few large insurers offering a limited number of health insurance plans. This has occurred in large part because of insurer's immunity from federal antitrust laws. In contrast, our nation's physicians and health care providers are afforded no comparable protections. This unbalanced playing field ultimately means that consumers lose out with higher healthcare costs and poorer care. Today, Congressman Benishek and I introduced H.R. 4077, the "Quality Health Care Coalition Act of 2014' to reverse this trend. Our legislation allows for physicians to negotiate with insurers on a level playing field, ensuring heightened quality standards for patient care. I look forward to working in a bipartisan fashion towards restoring fairness and ensuring quality in our faulty healthcare system."
Congressman Dan Benishek, M.D. (R-Mich.): "Having been a doctor for 30 years, I see this bipartisan bill as a way to help improve patient care and lower costs for Michigan families. With health care being such a big part of everyone's lives, this is the kind of common sense reform that will make it easier for doctors to provide patients with top notch care."
American Association of Orthopedic Surgeons President, Joshua J. Jacobs, M.D.: "The American Association of Orthopedic Surgeons strongly applauds the introduction of H.R. 4077. Over 80 percent of U.S. health insurance markets today are considered "highly concentrated' because of antitrust enforcement policies that enable select insurers to dominate the health care market. The antitrust relief provided in H.R. 4077 will not only protect physician practices from anticompetitive behavior, such as the unilateral, non-negotiable contracts that result from this market power, but will ensure patient access to care is not compromised as a result of insurer monopsony. We must pass H.R. 4077."