The health insurance industry should have to comply with the same antitrust laws as the rest of the country, according to House Republican Conference Secretary John Carter, who today voted to repeal the decades-old legal waiver of the Sherman Antitrust Act for health insurers.
The health insurance industry has been exempt from federal price-fixing prohibitions since passage of the McCarran-Ferguson Act by a Democrat House and Senate that was signed into law by Democrat President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1945. The House today voted to repeal the exemption by an overwhelming 406-19 bipartisan margin.
"The law should apply equally to every person, every group, every company, and every industry in America," said Carter, a former Texas state judge. "That is the constitutional foundation of our efforts to defend the Rule of Law here in the House over this entire session of Congress. The antitrust exemption for the health insurance industry has been a longstanding gross violation of that premise of legal fairness and equality under the law."
"20 years on the bench taught me some things," Carter said. "Whenever we stop applying the law equally, bad things happen, as has been the case with this exemption."
Carter called on those who voted for today's historic repeal to now join in the effort to eliminate the similar tax penalty waiver currently provided to U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner (D-NY) and House Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangel (D-NY). Geithner and Rangel have both committed gross tax violations but have had their penalties waived by the Obama Administration and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), while the Administration and the Ways and Means Committee have increased efforts to penalize and prosecute non-politically connected Americans.