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Health Care & Environment
02.22 Report: Climate Denier to Lead White House Climate Panel [“Stupid is as stupid does.” –Forrest Gump]
02.22 The Uninhabitable Earth [Lots more important than all other problems put together]
02.16 Toxic black snow covers Siberian coalmining region [0:49 video; If its killing us, stop doing it]
02.16 Renewable energy will be world's main power source by 2040, says BP [But in America's capitalistic bubble, bribed-to-be-biased media and government defy reality]
02.16 What the pesticides in our urine tell us about organic food [What does inaction tell us about capitalism and our government?]
02.14 Exposure to Glyphosate-Based Herbicides and Risk for Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma: A Meta-Analysis and Supporting Evidence [If its killing us, make it illegal]
02.14 To avoid environmental catastrophe, everything must change [Consider why this headline is laughable or confusing to many, if not most, Americans...]02.13 Study Shows Toxic Pesticide Levels in Families Dropped by 60% After One-Week Organic Diet [2:10 video; Produce and canned vegetables laced with toxic chemicals—from fertilizers and herbicides, too—must be quickly phased out to use safe organic alternatives]
News Media Matters
US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'
02.20 ‘Sustained and ongoing’ disinformation assault targets Dem presidential candidates [If you can sense them, block them!]
02.20 Despite the slaughter in Yemen, Britain is still chasing arms sales [and the Great-Again-America is too...Capitalism without morality is horrible]
Economics & Corrupting-Capitalism
International & FuturismSanders Has an Advantage, and It’s Not [Just] About Economics
02.22 When multilateralism crumbles, so does our rules-based order [this enables easier corruption by banks and oligarchs and may result in complete societal breakdown, chaos and war]
02.22 Trump has turned foreign aid into shabby political theatre [Psychopaths are a sub-human species without empathy or morals.]
02.21 John Oliver Compares Brexit ‘Disaster’ to Will Smith’s Genie in Live-Action ‘Aladdin’ (Video) [21:26 video; we’re approaching an Idiocracy-type of society, where stupidity is “normal”]
02.20 House report lays bare White House feud over Saudi nuclear push [Its hard to keep up with all the criminal crap going on...]
Time to Pass the Health Insurance Industry Antitrust Enforcement Act of 2009
Can Capitalism defeat the Mafia, or are they the same?
Repeal of the McCarran-Ferguson Act of 1945 antitrust exemption for the health insurance industry is a first step toward bringing at least some competition in that industry.
What happened to the "Health Insurance Industry Antitrust Enforcement Act of 2009"? Congress must repeal the McCarran-Ferguson Act antitrust exemption for the health insurance industry as a first step toward bringing at least some competition in that industry, which in turn will help bring down the cost of health insurance.
The McCarran-Ferguson Act of 1945 gives states the exclusive authority to regulate the "business of insurance" without interference from federal regulation, unless federal law specifically provides otherwise. The Act provides that the Sherman Anti-Trust Act of 1890, the Clayton Act of 1914, and the Federal Trade Commission Act of 1914, apply to the business of insurance only to the extent that such business is not regulated by state law. Thus, the Act exempts health insurance companies from federal antitrust regulations that apply to nearly every other industry, rules that protect consumers from anti-competitive business practices. Repeal of the Act would ensure that health insurance issuers and medical malpractice insurance issuers cannot engage in price fixing, bid rigging, monopoly practices, or market allocations to the detriment of competition and consumers.
Recently, the media has been reporting regularly about the Anthem Blue Cross -- a subsidiary of Wellpoint, Inc. -- plan to raise health insurance rates up to 39 percent in California. The main justification for the large rate increases, as much as 10 times greater than national health spending growth, is higher health care costs. But as U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sibelius remarked, "It remains difficult to understand how a company [Anthem] that made $2.9 billion in the last quarter of 2009 alone can justify massive increases. . . ." And WellPoint, Inc. reported net income of $4.7 billion in 2009. And a recent report found that the combined profit for the five largest health care providers -- WellPoint, Inc., United-Health Group, Aetna, Humana, and Cigna -- increased 56 percent in 2009 over 2008. Increased rates mean less coverage for a higher cost or possibly no coverage for those without means.
These facts should raise antitrust concerns. While the lack of competition in the health insurance industry may well have other causes, which may or may not be cured through a repeal of the McCarran-Ferguson Act, the insurance exemption from the federal antitrust laws has not helped. Repealing the Act coupled with increased antitrust enforcement is a relatively simple first step if the ultimate goals are to rein in health care costs and provide health care to the largest number of consumers.
It is time to pass the "Health Insurance Industry Antitrust Enforcement Act of 2009."
Ralph E. Stone is a retired Federal Trade Commission attorney.
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Baltimore News Network, Inc., sponsor of this web site, is a nonprofit organization and does not make political endorsements. The opinions expressed in stories posted on this web site are the authors' own.This story was published on February 21, 2010.