You are here:HomeIssuesProtecting State Insurance Regulation 2010Med Mal May Be Removed From Bill to Limit McCarran-Ferguson

Med Mal May Be Removed From Bill to Limit McCarran-Ferguson

As a result of efforts by a broad industry coalition, an upcoming bill to partially repeal the limited federal insurance antitrust exemption under McCarran-Ferguson for...
February 18, 2010

As a result of efforts by a broad industry coalition, an upcoming bill to partially repeal the limited federal insurance antitrust exemption under McCarran-Ferguson for health and medical malpractice insurers could be pared back, with medical malpractice insurers removed from the proposal.  PIA National is an active participant in the coalition.

Announced at a press conference on February 5, the bill was supposed to be voted on by the House last week, but Congress was closed all week due to two major snowstorms and will not re-convene until the week of February 22. So far, a vote on this bill has not been scheduled.

In an news article, the National Underwriter quotes several unnamed industry lobbyists as saying the delay was likely due to the fact that the House Democratic leadership found it didn't have the votes to pass the bill as originally envisioned, and that they are considering removing the med mal provision in hopes of winning the essential votes to pass the bill. At the same time, they said it is unlikely that the Senate would pass such legislation in any form, especially in the current gridlocked atmosphere.

The National Underwriter story, appearing in this week's editions, takes note of PIA's Grassroots Action on the issue:

"In a message to its members asking them to call their congressmen to oppose the bill, the National Association of Professional Insurance Agents said it is unclear whether the bill will have the votes to pass, 'even if it comes up on the House floor. In fact, some industry lobbyists think that a vote may not be taken if there aren't sufficient votes to pass it.'"

"This bill attempts to address a problem that doesn't exist," said PIA National Executive Vice President & CEO Leonard C. Brevik. "It is a recipe for unintended consequences that will reduce competition and drive up costs for consumers. The limited federal antitrust exemption under the McCarran-Ferguson Act fosters robust competition in the marketplace that benefits consumers. It does this by allowing insurance companies to pool their data on losses."

What It Means to Agents: The efforts of PIA members along with our coalition partners in opposition to this bill seem to be having an effect. 

Keep Antitrust Exemption for Med-Mal (National Underwriter 2/15/10)