Tag Archive: antitrust

Is Garrett fearful of a level playing field for healthcare?

As Jason notes just below, Congressman Scott Garrett is quick to use fear and hyperbole when talking about his views of healthcare reform.  And the interesting thing with all of his fearmongering is the  complete absence of some of the most basic underlying concerns on why health insurance providers are able to collude, deny coverage and hike rates by however much they feel like.

So, with it being time for him to actually put the considerable money he gets from Big Insurance where his mouth is on the bill that Congressman Pallone discussed on repealing the antitrust exemption for insurance companies, what does he do?

Yup – he votes for collusion and price gouging and less competition (one of only 19 House members).  

Here is some context:

Congressman Pallone recently posted about repealing the antitrust exemption that health insurance companies currently enjoy (linked above).  And while this may not be the only reason why rates have been hiked and competition is all but eliminated, the simple fact remains is that there are industry wide price and competition abuses that are fostered by the exemption.

Now, there is more than just the anti-trust exemption at issue.   There have been over 400 corporate mergers in the healthcare industry since the late 1990’s, and the Department of Justice/Federal Trade Commission were about as hands off as could be with respect to the mergers and the elimination of competition that resulted from it.   Towards the back of this link is a summary of some major mergers and how they weren’t really challenged, just to provide more context.  As a result of this, the five largest providers of group health insurance companies controlled 75 percent or more of the market in 34 states, and 90 percent or more in 23 of those states, a significant increase in concentration over a six year period.

So, back to Garrett – he is always in favor of more competition and more “market forces”.  Even his own website section on healthcare talks about competition across state lines.  But without a removal of the antitrust exemption, this is close to a nonstarter.  And because of the lack of oversight on the hundreds of mergers that occurred, the competition that he talks about was bound to disappear rapidly.  It is clear that when it comes to standing up for the very principles he purports to have, Garrett is nothing more than a walking hypocrite and contradiction.