FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NAIC Submits Testimony to Congress on Interstate Competition
Regulators urge Congress to protect consumers as they consider reforms
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Feb. 16, 2017) —The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) submitted testimony to the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law. The testimony is for consideration by the committee as it holds a hearing focused on the Competitive Health Insurance Reform Act of 2017. The NAIC opposes the bill, which seeks to amend the McCarran-Ferguson Act that effectively carves out insurance regulation from federal antitrust laws.
"Eliminating the antitrust exemption in McCarran-Ferguson for health carriers will do nothing to address the real drivers of higher health insurance premiums: the cost of health care and utilization," read the NAIC's testimony. "In fact, as proposed, state regulators believe the Competitive Health Insurance Reform Act would lead to higher administrative costs, more confusion and uncertainty, and more instability in the health insurance markets and, therefore, higher premiums."
Nothing in federal law prevents states from allowing health insurance carriers from engaging in interstate insurance sales. Further, states have broad authorities to enforce antitrust and unfair competition laws. Insurance departments are responsible for the supervision of market conduct of the insurance industry. Insurance regulators have been working with Congress and the administration to stabilize health insurance markets since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, and more recently on reform and repeal efforts.
"While we cannot support amending or repealing the McCarran-Ferguson antitrust exemption for the business of health insurance, we do support your goal of reducing the cost of health care in this country and also assuring that we have fair and competitive insurance markets across the country. State regulators and the NAIC offer our expertise to assist you in attaining these important goals," the testimony concluded.