FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
Democrats are pushing back hard against the health insurance companies. As part of the health care reform bill - they want to strip the industry of its antitrust exemption. The industry got a special exemption from the anti trust laws way back in 1945 on the grounds that it didn't participate in interstate commerce.
Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY)
This means that unlike other industries, health insurance companies can discuss pricing, territories and other things that would otherwise be considered collusion. Translation: They make more money and you pay higher premiums. Nice deal - for them.
Senator Chuck Schumer is calling for more competition - and points to statistics that show 94 percent of the nation's insurance markets are "highly concentrated,"and that in almost 40 states, two firms control more than half the market. Schumer says the top 10 companies went from $2 billion to $12 billion in profits in the past decade.
Where has this little factoid been during the health care debate... and what is Congress is waiting for? If this could increase competition and lower prices - why haven't they done something already? Excuse me. I lost my head there for a moment.
The insurance companies insist they are one of "the most regulated industries in America at both the federal and state level." They say this is nothing more than a political ploy. Whatever it is, it's long overdue.
Congress' wrath was triggered by that potentially flawed industry report earlier this week suggesting premiums would rise significantly under the Senate's health reform bill. They're also running TV ads that say seniors would suffer under the Senate plan.
The deal is we all suffer under the health insurance companies' plan. Time to contact your senator or representative... or both.
Here’s my question to you: Should Congress do away with the antitrust exemption enjoyed by the health insurance companies?
Tune in to the Situation Room at 5pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.
And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.