October 15th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

Do away with health insurance industry's antitrust exemption?

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.

Filed under: Congress • Health care
soundoff (300 Responses)
  1. Kim - Blair, NE

    ABSOLUTELY! Never should have benefitted from it in the first place. It's time to take the gloves off & fight for what working people need. And if I hear one more knucklehead say that the public option will devastate the insurance companies & consequently the economy, I'm going to scream! Those big shots have more money than any one person could ever need in an entire lifetime.

    October 15, 2009 at 1:51 pm |
  2. Bob

    If they don't do away with the antitrust exemption held by insurance companies they should repeal all the laws making it a crime go file false claims with them.

    That would make the playing field level.


    Louisville, Ky

    October 15, 2009 at 1:51 pm |
  3. Jane (Minnesota)

    Absolutely they should do away with it especially after the stunt this industry pulled with issuing that flawed report! If the members of Congress won't support a public option to keep them in check – they had better not be opposed to removing this ridiculous exemption!

    I imagine the loudest opposition will come from the ones who receive the big campaign support from the health insurance lobby. I certainly didn't hear as much outrage from Washington as I would have hoped to hear over that report after it was issued. That in itself outrages me!

    October 15, 2009 at 1:52 pm |
  4. Carlos Round Rock, Texas

    Jack the answer is a giant yes. Half of our health care problems are the insurance companies. After they put out the fear factor of rates will sky rocket over 100% with reform and only 79% without it, I guess they thought 79% did not sound like 80%. The breaks for the insurance companies need to be reeled in and they should not have any special exmeptions at all.

    October 15, 2009 at 1:52 pm |
  5. Jim

    Jack, Why would we want to drop the healthcare industry's exemption from anti trust laws? Without comment how about: monopolistic control, price fixing & gouging, insuring only the healthy, recisions, bribes to legislators, legislators turned lobbiests, ludicrous salaries and bonuses, colusion between healthcare corporations, and obnoxious "ED" TV Ads.
    Jim Los Angeles

    October 15, 2009 at 1:54 pm |
  6. Blond Rocker

    From NYC.

    Yes, the sooner the better!
    Looking back over the last 12 months, it hit me, how could our representatives, on both sides of the aisle, let this go on as long as it has??? It can't be all about the money, I mean, the money both sides accept from HIC and Pharma. Could it be?

    Sad state of affairs...

    October 15, 2009 at 1:59 pm |
  7. Featheriver

    Yes. Let the insurance companies compete with each other. Republicans love free trade competition. They should love having each insurance company competing with each other to bring down premium costs.

    October 15, 2009 at 2:03 pm |
  8. Conor in Chicago

    Seeing as how this is the 21st Century in which all kinds of different industries can do their business online and not deal with "interstate commerce" this does seem like a no brainer.

    October 15, 2009 at 2:03 pm |
  9. Susan Frost

    They should but they won't. They've been bought and paid for. It's obvious that, with few exceptions, Congress is giving only "moral support" to health-care reform. You know what "moral support" is? It's the kind of support the rope gives you when you're hanging!

    Tuscaloosa AL

    October 15, 2009 at 2:05 pm |
  10. Bob D Iowa

    Yes, If the laws are changed where insurance companies can sell insurance across state lines then the argument that was used to pass the mccarran-ferguson act need to be repealed.

    October 15, 2009 at 2:06 pm |
  11. eric -hampton VA

    Yes absolutely they should do away with it. I think sen Schumer said it best:"The health insurance's antitrust exemption is one of the worst accidents of American history,". "It deserves a lot of the blame for the huge rise in premiums that has made health insurance so unaffordable. It is time to end this special status and bring true competition to the health insurance industry."

    October 15, 2009 at 2:08 pm |
  12. Russ in PA

    Sure, remove the exemption. But also remove all of the state mandates (PA has 52 of them), and all of the state regulations prohibiting purchasing across state lines.

    Let's make it a true open market system, and stop the nonsense of a public option.

    October 15, 2009 at 2:08 pm |
  13. mark foster texas

    congress should do away with the antitrust exemption to health insurance companies. how can they claim to be part of a free market system while getting favored treatment from the government. what they are getting is wellfare..

    October 15, 2009 at 2:10 pm |
  14. Martyn Bignell

    A great question Jack, you know as a Brit now living in America I am at times totally bewildered by some peoples reactions to health care, it is quite obvious to anyone that the health insurance companies are laughing at all of us; all the way to the bank.
    I honestly struggle with the contridictions I hear everyday, especially from republicans, on the one hand I hear that everything should be a free market; so when our president actually tries to do that; they are against it, in my opinion the insurance companies should be pulled into line like everybody else.

    Their is better description for the health insurance companies, but I will not give that description on your blog, I would really open up the market, allowing foreign companies to compete as well, withdrawing their anti trust exemption for me is a given, that would really sort out the men from the boys; I am sorry I am business man just getting my second American company off of the ground, therefore I believe firmly in free enterprise; if they are all as good as they say they are then they should not have a problem with real competition, or is that what they are really afraid of?

    Martyn of Fort Lauderdale.

    October 15, 2009 at 2:15 pm |
  15. Joe CE

    The insurance industry should be subject to anti-trust laws. There is no real competition in the industry. Their recent lobblying has spread m,isinformation and borders on blantant lies.

    Lobbyist exeret excessive and unhealth influnce on the legislative process. Corporations should be prohibited lobbying or hiring lobbyist. This would greatly impove things.

    October 15, 2009 at 2:15 pm |
  16. Tom in Desoto, Tx

    I believe health insurance companies have earned their antitrust status...name one person outside the industry who does trust them?

    October 15, 2009 at 2:15 pm |
  17. Taylor

    Yes, I believe that repealing the Carran-Ferguson Act of 1945 is well over due. This law, in part, is the reason we so desperately need a public option today!

    October 15, 2009 at 2:18 pm |
  18. T.Thomas Abilene Tx.

    Of course.This greedy , self-serving group should never have had any exemption Their lobbying efforts should have been strictly controlled by law,too. No wonder Congress is held in such low esteem by the American people.

    October 15, 2009 at 2:19 pm |
  19. Debra~Arizona

    Dear Jack,


    October 15, 2009 at 2:20 pm |
  20. Cheryl in Bluffton, SC

    Of course they should, Jack! But will they? With six lobbyists per Congressperson, I doubt it. Those crying "socialism" should be more concerned about "corporatism."

    October 15, 2009 at 2:21 pm |
  21. pat

    yes , thank you

    October 15, 2009 at 2:23 pm |
  22. David-Natchez,MS

    Congress should do away with the health insurers and give us what we want, a public option that we can afford with decent coverage and manageable out of pocket expenses.

    October 15, 2009 at 2:24 pm |
  23. Melissa

    Yes. Its time to stop these thieves from robbing us.

    October 15, 2009 at 2:25 pm |
  24. Chris from NC

    Yes they should!!!! It's one of many ways to keep them honest, allow more competition and control costs. Go Dems Go!!!!

    October 15, 2009 at 2:25 pm |
  25. Rick Medina,OH


    So, let me see if I got this right ... executives of health insurers (and their lap dogs) can legally sit in meeting rooms, share the inner workings of their businesses, cost structures and pricing policies, and and 'divide and conquer' the national market? And this began 20 years before Medicare, and has continued for nearly 65 years?

    You don't need to be an accountant to understand why health care costs have risen at far higher rates than the Consumer Price Index, or why Medicare / Medicaid are such significant shares of the Federal budget.

    Health care reform was promoted to accomplish two objectives - include more people in the system, and find ways to reduce costs and eliminate waste. Swift action on this issue is a must!

    Rick, Medina, OH

    October 15, 2009 at 2:25 pm |
  26. Doug - Dallas, TX

    Absolutely, Jack!! Why should we continue to allow these companies to receive these special exemptions while they are hosing their customers, buying politicians, denying coverage and perpetuating the health care crisis in this country? They have already proven they will lie, distort the truth, cheat and screw their customers to make the largest profits they can. Besides, the conditions that existed in 1945 don't exist now, so update the laws to rein in these white collar terrorists.

    October 15, 2009 at 2:30 pm |
  27. Tripp, Dallas

    See. That's the problem with America now, Jack. Big corporations aren't willing to take SOME financial hit. We need ALL Americans entities, corporate and individual, to sacrifice a little if we want our country to come out of this mess. The problem is we all think OTHERS should sacrifice, not us. It's a sad state of affairs.

    The worst part is that when these insurance companies go belly up, who are they going to run to for help? That's right! The American people!

    October 15, 2009 at 2:30 pm |
  28. Danny Mckinney, Texas

    Jack Congress should eliminate any and all loop holes for the insurance industry starting with the Insurance lobbyist in Washington. They need be banned. Congress should also allow all insurance companies to compete in all states. It is true that insurance is the most regulated industry. Unfortunately it is also true that those regulations only benefit the top insurance agencies and limits their competition. Those were things done by the United States Congress not the insurance companies. Insurance companies do not enact legislation Congress does.

    October 15, 2009 at 2:30 pm |
  29. Ryan - Galesburg, IL

    What, regulate the industry that makes its "customers" choose which finger they will pay to have sutured back on, tells them their baby is too fat to insure, and makes life and death decisions based upon investors' profits? It's not only time to regulate these monsters; it is time to provide a public option to make them as honest as is possible.

    October 15, 2009 at 2:30 pm |
  30. Jon in Hartford

    Sen. Schumer has one great staff that they were able to pick this up! By all means take away the health insurers antitrust exemptions! No wonder they are thriving! Americans should be so lucky!

    October 15, 2009 at 2:31 pm |
  31. docb- denver

    The Insurance monopolies have been ruinous for the American people. We have been held hostage by them and a lazy Congress for decades. It is time to take a look at another of the protectionist pieces of legislation.

    This mention might be saber-rattling by Schumer and the gang because of the AHIP report but could turn the tide in HC insurance reform..Hopefully, it will not serve to drag out the passing of the legislation so badly needed by even those of us who are covered!

    October 15, 2009 at 2:33 pm |
  32. BigD Real Competition, Mn

    Why Anti-Trust Exemption? I Ask!
    A Life Preserver for Big Money?

    We All Voted in 2008 + Obama + Fair Rules Now Apply!

    Special Treatment for Big Business +
    Special Treatment for Losers of the 2008 Presidential Elections So They Can Retain the Powers of the Presidency, Like They Won is "FOX NEWS INSANITY!"

    Republicans Still Haven't + Won't Accept that They've Lost the Elections!

    High Time We Move 'Em On Out, Far Far Away!

    October 15, 2009 at 2:34 pm |
  33. Alex in Seattle

    How many people died due to being denied treatment so that the health insurance companies can make their obscene profits? The conservatives always call for a level playing field, (unless they can stack the odds in their favor.) So, yes, Jack, eliminate their special status.

    October 15, 2009 at 2:36 pm |
  34. Bizz, Quarryville, Pennsylvania

    I don't see the difference between the way insurance companies are allowed to divide up territory and control prices then the way mafia families operate. No wonder the insurance companies are so strongly against this bill. Like the famous line in the godfather movie " every now and then you have to have a war to get rid of the bad blood." I think it is time the insurance companies have a price war with fair competition and not guns. But just as in the godfather movie Don Corleone had many politicians in his pocket, the insurance companies also have many politicians and their pocket.

    October 15, 2009 at 2:36 pm |
  35. Lance, Ridgecrest, Ca

    Jack, yes, if Congress will also let the insurance companies compete across state lines. That was the premise behind the anti-trust exemption anyway. Think Congress will vote to let them compete? ABSOLUTELY NOT!! That would mean lower costs (HUH?) and alleviate some of the need for the government to "reform health care". (HUH?) Oh, and health insurance would be portable across state lines. What about it, think it'll fly??

    October 15, 2009 at 2:38 pm |
  36. Richard B.C. Canada

    If interstate commerce exemptions were lifted to increase competition among health insurers premiums would go down and benefits might improve. Updating outdated corporate loopholes for today's Corporations who are now too large to fail should also inlude regulations against their diivestment into other healthcare industries and no more marketing financial instruments not associated with their primary products.

    October 15, 2009 at 2:40 pm |
  37. Beverly Swanson

    Of course the anti-trust exemption should go away. The interstate commerce law provides insurance companies with a perfect excuse not to compete and allows them to carve up the country into little fiefdoms of higher profit. This hasn't been changed because the insurance industry pays the politicians through campaign contributions do support insurance interests over the people's.

    October 15, 2009 at 2:42 pm |
  38. Willard Gatzke

    Given that we are now going to be bombarded with insurance advertisements making false claims about health care reform.....

    Maybe the real question we should be asking is "Should for profit health insurance companies even exist"?

    October 15, 2009 at 2:43 pm |
  39. Independent Joe


    Absolutely. We should also institute some tort reform. Unfortuantely, the insurance industry has the republicans in their back pocket and the national trial lawyers association has the democrats in theirs. So it won't happen.

    Independent Joe (MN)

    October 15, 2009 at 2:43 pm |
  40. ej in Tacoma

    The insurance companies are running the show with health care reform and they are making out like bandits with our hard earned money. We need more competition, less cost , more regulation and don't get me started we need to do this now. Insurance premiums are due to rise again come January. Something needs to be done to stop these insurance thieves!!
    Sorry Jack I got carried away!!
    E.J. in Tacoma

    October 15, 2009 at 2:46 pm |
  41. marlene

    Yes, after 54 years and now no competition, something must change. If we can't get single payer health care we should at least get to choose between more than one or two insurance companies for health care insurance.

    October 15, 2009 at 2:47 pm |
  42. Willard Gatzke

    Given that we are now going to be bombarded with insurance advertisements making false claims about health care reform…..

    Maybe the real question we should be asking is “Should for profit health insurance companies even exist”?

    Canon City CO

    October 15, 2009 at 2:49 pm |
  43. BOB WHITE, Kansas

    Yes, absolutely. Our nation has learned a long time ago and at every subsequest opportunity that "a monopoly" is not in the public interest. With our current health insurance experience, we have just learnd the same old lesson, again. How dumb are we?

    October 15, 2009 at 2:49 pm |
  44. Jackie in Dallas

    This is LONG overdue. If they don't want the public option, and they don't want to be a service industry anymore but strictly a profit center, then they need to get be "freed" from that antitrust exemption. They constitute a industrial monopoly while they can collude on pricing and exemptions. Talk about death panels - our insurance companies have the real ones, where non-medical personnel can make life or death decisions on whether a test or treatment is covered - based on cost.

    October 15, 2009 at 2:49 pm |
  45. David from Northern Virginia

    Yes. They bought this exemption 65 years ago and it's time to let it go. I am sick and tired of watching large corporations suck the lifeblood out of the American people. It's payback time.

    October 15, 2009 at 2:50 pm |
  46. David

    The way these insurance companies are bribing, err err, donating campaign contributions at an all time record to politicians to fight reform, shows me that these insurance companies are not playing fair, and don`t care about the average persons health, just their bottom line. They continuously prove it by denying coverage to people because of pre-existing conditions, high risk patients, and expensive procedures which could save lives. I bet my insurance premiums are going to go up because of all the lobbying money being spent. I say take away the exemption, and make them compete. I would also like to see the public option, or at least the trigger, put in the health care bill, cause I just don`t trust the insurance companies at their word.

    October 15, 2009 at 2:51 pm |
  47. paul westminster maryland

    Of course they should, and they should do it no matter how much the the party no fights it and I'll guarantee you they will. They'll probably be helped out by those corrupt dems who also use the health insurance industry's money to line their pockets.

    October 15, 2009 at 2:51 pm |
  48. Dennis in Cleveland,Ohio

    Not only should they do away with the anti-trust law for the Health Insurance Industry, they should just do away with the Health Insurance Industry PERIOD by going to SINGLE PAYER!

    October 15, 2009 at 2:57 pm |
  49. Dennis North Carolina

    yes and regulate them properly.

    October 15, 2009 at 2:58 pm |
  50. Don

    Another no brainer Jack. Of course we should do away with the antitrust exemption. What are regulations for anyway? If we agree that government's role is to protect it's citizens, what better industry to regulate than health insurance companies. We have seen too many people denied coverage, die from lack of coverage, and go into financial ruin because the policy they hold has fine print that says your pre-exiting condition exempts you from recieving benefits. As has been said by others, we are living in a country where profits are made from misfortune and ill health. This has got to stop.

    October 15, 2009 at 2:59 pm |
  51. Rick

    Who you gonna call?? Not your insurance company. That little trick with Price Waterhouse has totally undermined my confidence in them. The play for keeps (keep the profits that is), no holds barred! No wonder they don't want competition from a public option - they won't be able to collude with them. They might actually have to COMPETE! Ah, the joys of free enterprise. Who could be against that.

    October 15, 2009 at 3:01 pm |
  52. Bill Davis

    Why should any entity receive anti-trust "exemptions?" Hell yes do away with it.

    Bill D.
    Champaign, IL

    October 15, 2009 at 3:03 pm |
  53. Dave, Brooklyn, NY

    You betcha! I don’t trust them at all, and I’m not all that sure about Congress either.

    October 15, 2009 at 3:08 pm |
  54. roger

    Yes, they definately push insurance across state lines, and they should be fined for all those years they violated the anti trust status- say about 500 million for each year they did business in multiple states!

    October 15, 2009 at 3:08 pm |
  55. David (Wilmington NC)

    Anti-Trust exemption?

    I don’t think health insurance companies and the word trust should be used in the same sentence.

    To answer your question…
    They are not too big to fail, like the banks were, they are too big to serve their clients.

    October 15, 2009 at 3:14 pm |
  56. Richard Green


    Yes! Absolutely! They have been able to carve up the country, collude, and fix prices long enough. There is no price competition among these companies. It's been a monopoly for way too long.

    Rich Green
    San Clemente, Cal

    October 15, 2009 at 3:17 pm |
  57. Greg, Ontario

    Insurance companies are middle men. Why not everyone give a certain amount of money directly to their local hospital to cover all the costs of running said hospital? Then when you need it, your covered. If the hospital needs new stuff or staff you raise the payment to cover it. I believe the savings would be huge as long as it was over seen properly with medical service in mind as apposed to the bottom line. Hospitals in America are some of the greediest institutions in America but they are never called on the mat for it.

    October 15, 2009 at 3:21 pm |
  58. Ray in Nashville

    Absolutely, Jack. It is time for our elected representatives to stand up and do what is right for the people of the United States, not the big corporations who hand out millions of dollars in campaign contributions.

    October 15, 2009 at 3:24 pm |
  59. Vinnie Vino


    Congress should have done away with these obsolete antitrust exemptions for health-care insurance companies decades ago in order to implement any real and substantially meaningful reform in the health-care industry for every american citizen...

    Vinnie Vino
    Central Islip, N.Y.

    October 15, 2009 at 3:25 pm |
  60. Tom, Avon, Me, The Heart of Democracy

    That could have been a safeguard against the industry increasing its costs while reducing benefit, when the Republicans scuttled Hillary's attempt at reform. It is too late for that now. Now we need to dump the useless costly Boards of Directors, CEO's, and their posh life styles, so we can afford to save lives.

    October 15, 2009 at 3:27 pm |
  61. Katiec Pekin, IL

    Yes they should.
    The insurance companies have been allowed to rape the American people for far too long. This will be one step for bringing them in
    line and the other will be a true Public Option.
    We have been victimized long enough.

    October 15, 2009 at 3:28 pm |
  62. Ray Kinserlow


    Ray Kinserlow
    Lubbock, Texas

    October 15, 2009 at 3:35 pm |
  63. Pablo in Arlington Texas

    Hell Yes! Do away with their antitrust exemption. And for good measure give us a public option. In fact, I favor going to a single payer system ASAP! The sooner the private health insurance industry is made obsolete the healthier and safer we all will be.
    Arlington Texas

    October 15, 2009 at 3:35 pm |
  64. Peg from NY

    Absolutely get rid of this! Until ALL legal US Citizens receive the same health care as US Senators anything we get handed is an outrage! People deserve to not fear bankruptcy along with serious illness. I may have beaten colon cancer at this time but bankruptcy was my bonus after fighting for my life. Our current health care system equals rubbish!

    October 15, 2009 at 3:35 pm |
  65. RJ from Lake,MI

    Absolutely! Maybe they will all go out of business and finally set up a one payer system (and yes you have to pay to recieve) that is fair for everyone! No more freeloading until you are at a fair retirement age which I believe should not have to be a day over 62! You will have your exceptions like disabled (and yes you would actually have to be disabled) and those who ran into tough time but for no longer than 2 years. Start getting this country back to personal responsibility instead of mooching off the system!

    October 15, 2009 at 3:36 pm |
  66. Theresa - Petal, MS

    Jack, I just received my health insurance invoice and it is going up another $800.00 this year. It has tripled over the last 10 years, so when they threaten that the health insurance reform bill will make my premium increase $4,000 in the next 10 years that sounds like a bargain. They are ripping us royally and whatever the congress can do to put a stop to it, is good by me.

    October 15, 2009 at 3:38 pm |
  67. Michael and Diane Phoenix AZ

    Damn Right! The health insurance companies have been doing interstate commerce business for ever. Think about it, AIG is headquartered in New York City, but has offices and affiliates all over the country if not the world. Same goes for those life, health, and financial securities sold by all the insurers like Met Life, Travelers, etc. And some of them are owned by other insurance companies just so they can get their greedy paws in other states.

    October 15, 2009 at 3:40 pm |
  68. K

    Given the fact that my Medicare Advantage rates are increasing next year with decreased benefits and higher co-pays and the fact that the drug/hospital companies are making record profits it is far past time to do away with the antitrust exemptions. Just once i would like to see the people not the companies represented by congress but I won't hold my breath.

    October 15, 2009 at 3:42 pm |
  69. Lou from North Carolina

    Anything that will straighten out the insurance companies and make them a little more competitve.

    October 15, 2009 at 3:42 pm |

    Jack, yes do away with the anti- trust exemption. This is not 1945. the insurance companies have been enjoying huge profits for far too long, time to reel them in.

    October 15, 2009 at 3:46 pm |
  71. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    Of course! 1945...it is about time this gets updated to face reality!

    Gee, who would have imagine to have made collusion legal!

    October 15, 2009 at 3:46 pm |
  72. Larry from Georgetown, Tx

    Duh less see. Our premium is going to increase by 8% next year and has been this way for the last several years. These millionaire Senators don't get it and probably never will, sad but true. So to answer your question, this should be done today but it won't be because the people who have the power are paid off by the insurance companies, you know it, I know it and of course their banker knows it.

    October 15, 2009 at 3:50 pm |
  73. southerncousin

    Libitards (not Democrats) are pushing this as part of their demonizaition of the insurance industry to get their next welfare grab accomplished. They demonize anyone and anything to get their way no matter how stupid or unfair. It is their way of solving problems and why if they shove this atrocity down our thoats, they will be a minority party for another 50 years.

    October 15, 2009 at 3:52 pm |
  74. Jim, South Carolina

    Like yesterday Jack. At my age I have a better shot at a ride on a flying saucer than getting afforable health insurance. These too-big-to-fail insurance companies need some serious regulation.

    October 15, 2009 at 3:52 pm |
  75. Rob in NC

    Probably should, probably won't. Money talks.

    October 15, 2009 at 3:52 pm |
  76. Sandra from North Carolina

    Yes, easy question. I didn't even have to think about that one. I also believe that threats of increased premiums sounds alot like blackmail. So why has it taken Congress so long to figure this one out?

    October 15, 2009 at 3:54 pm |
  77. Jim

    No, Insurance companies should never have been exempt from the anti-trust laws. Collusion among consumers does them no good so why should the giant insurance companies be granted that privilige which has resulted in a virtual insurance indusrry cartel.

    October 15, 2009 at 3:55 pm |
  78. Jim


    Darn right, kill that exemption. While you're at it, Jack, how about explaining how it is that they're NOT engaged in interstate commerce?

    Reno, Nevada

    October 15, 2009 at 3:56 pm |
  79. Jackie in Dallas

    This is LONG overdue. If they don’t want the public option (which they've proved by pouring millions of dollars into the effort to prevent it - money that could have been spent helping people get well), and they don’t want to be a service industry anymore but strictly a profit center, then they need to get be “freed” from that antitrust exemption.

    They constitute a industrial monopoly because they can and do collude on pricing and exemptions. Talk about death panels — our insurance companies have the real ones, where non-medical personnel can make life or death decisions on whether a test or treatment is covered — based on cost and long-term profit/loss ratios.

    October 15, 2009 at 3:59 pm |
  80. Jack CArlson

    It is not pushing back it is revenge.
    Watching the Finance Committee discussions and vote I could not believe they expect Americans to fall for 4 yrs of taxes prior to any benefits kicking in. Congress is getting nuttier all the time.
    We need to take care of the approx 12 million who truly are without health ins, the disabled for sure we must take care of, and those who lose their jobs to have continued converage.
    However, to drop the fine on the young ($200 in 2014 and a little more later) which the Committee did do, and the Bill is suppose to be deficit neutral? We know better than that.
    85% of AMericans are happy with what they have. Cut the fraud, drop the frivolous lawsuits, allow true competition, and if you think taking from the elderly will work – now that will be true push back from the Seniors at voting time. Now giving the Seniors $250.00 when Congress gave themselves $5,000.00 annually – we all recall the facts as we have read the bills and followed this charade. However, not this last bill because it was an "invisible bill" folks.
    Jack C

    October 15, 2009 at 4:01 pm |
  81. Mike from Denver

    Absolutely. Instead of wasting time arguing about how to recreate the system, why not focus on things like this?? A small, quick change like this will have major and immediate benefits to the public. Now that would be change I could believe in.

    October 15, 2009 at 4:01 pm |
  82. Jerry Jacksonville, Fl.

    Hell yes, that would probably increase the chance that these insurance companies would have some competition, why is it so damn hard for congress to do something that will actually help the american people, I've never been so disgusted with our government as I am now, it seems like all we have in congress now are a bunch of thieves and liars that are only interested in helping big business, even the democrats. The people of the United States had better wake up and smell the roses because our elected officials are about to take them away from you.

    October 15, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  83. Jeff Crocket in New Britain, CT

    What angry pompous children these supposedly smart Democrat Senators are!!

    Schumer sounds like a six year old bully!!!

    October 15, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  84. Michael Adeyemi

    Americans should seize these opportunity to free themselves from the slavery and massacre of insurance companies. The Senate should do away with anything that would bring down the cost of health insurance and also add anything, be it public option or any option as long as it brings down costs. It's hard to believe that people could swallow the propaganda and lies of the insurance companies and Republicans who put the interest of their business and party first to the detriment and well being of the citizens respectively.

    October 15, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  85. Ken DE

    The antitrust exemption needs to be removed immediately. With 400% profits and a 1 billion dollar pay package for the united health care CEO it is long overdue. The more you hear about the giveaways for banks, wall street and insurance companies the sicker you get. 11 trillion dollar bailout for wall street and a 700 billion dollar stimulus for main street. I am sick , sick, sick. of both the dems and pubs.

    Dover, DE

    October 15, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  86. Steve, Clifton, VA

    When The antitrust exemption was granted previously there was a belief that this industry was not profit driven. While that was true then and the lobbyist industry was no where near what the health insurance industry employs today, yes it's time to group them under the same antitrust provisions as all other industries that are profit driven...The public option is starting to look better and better....

    Clifton, VA

    October 15, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  87. michael armstrong sr. TX.

    Dont stop with health insurance go all the way and include auto home fire flood and any thing else those crooks are involved with .

    October 15, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  88. Mandy, Birmingham, AL

    I'm from Alabama where I have a choice between BC-BS and BC-BS – yeah United Health does write a small percentage of the policies but that's only so BS-BS can say they really don't have a monopoly. Everyone with BC-BS has had premiums rise tremendously ... and they get away with it since they've bought and paid for the AL state government. So yes, I'd love to see the federal government do away with the antitrust exemption and get some real competition here.

    October 15, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  89. Ed from the Four Corners

    Absolutely, congress should do away with this anti trust exemption. The insurance companies have done nothing but make huge obscene profits off the backs of americans and are doing their best to undermine any change to a broken health care system. It is just another example why American's health care should not be a "for profit" business.

    October 15, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  90. John from Alabama

    Jack: For over 35 years, I have paid anywhere from $4500.00 to 8500.00 in premiums and copays. I believe with all my heart and soul it is time the health insurance companies should get screwed into the ground. When you call to ask questions they are very arrogant and rude. Last year health insurance companies made 12 and 1/2 billion dollars in profits. The antitrust laws should be applied to health insurance companies like any other company. They should not have any special consideration because they are a health care provider. Next on my list are for profit hospitals and hospital systems.

    October 15, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  91. Jan from NJ

    I love Senator Shummer ! Yes, I want the insurance companies to suffer a little bit for all the suffering they have caused. They will still be making money on all the new enrollees.

    October 15, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  92. Richard, Syracuse, NY

    YES. What I don't understand is the Conservatives are always saying let the Market dictate what happens, that competition is best and the Government should butt out. So why have we heard NOTHING from the Republicans saying that this is against all that is good for the consumers. When these people meet to set prices and standards there is NO competition.

    October 15, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  93. AndyZ Lynn, MA

    Of course Congress should remove the anti-trust exemption. Then we can have a national lottery with participants guessing how high health insurance rates will climb. Winner gets a year of paid health insurance.

    October 15, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  94. Rae from Indiana

    No industry should have an exemption and they need to enforce this law. This is how we get 'too big to fail'.

    October 15, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  95. joe m

    i've got a better question, why has it taken all this time before any of these brainiacs in washington decided to do something about it? if this exemption has had an impact on the cost of health insurance, it should have been addressed years ago. maybe, just maybe, we wouldn't be in the mess we are in now if our political leaders acted sooner. i'm not about the defend the insurance companies, but the timing sure looks like payback from the dems. still, if removing the exemption will help increase competition, then by all means remove it. but if this is just all political distaction, then it's just one more reason that none of us should trust politicians to do the right thing.

    October 15, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  96. Albert K.. L.A, CA

    Jack, is this some kind of sick joke? For Congress to argue over doing away with the antitrust exemption while at the same time writing a so-called reform bill without a public option to set a honest price, but forces people to buy protection, it seems like we are doing away with the “free” market and creating a mutant offspring between capitalism, government and organized crime; de jure extortionist!

    October 15, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  97. Anne -- Sulphur, LA

    Getting rid of this protection for the insurance companies will certainly make their stockholders angry. Even though it would probably be wonderful for policyholders cost-wise, because Wall Street would lose profits the legislation won't get rid of the benefits to the insurance companies. They won't want to lose their ability to pay their politicians the 'campaign contributions' they have becomed used to.

    October 15, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  98. Alan from Riverdale

    Yes, as soon as is humanly possible.

    October 15, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  99. russell

    Well Jack , I'd say trim any accesses that the insurance companies have , maybe it's really time we stop them from raping the American citizens , and that's exactly what their doing now raping us all and sitting on the fence laughing about it .............

    October 15, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  100. Ed

    12 billion isn't huge profit for such a large industry. Compare that to Goldman Sachs 100 billion + and they're practically paupers. It doesn't seem like they abused their anti-trust priveledges. Maybe we're all just suffering from the gouging of the dollar.

    October 15, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  101. Ken M, Millington MI.

    Hello Jack. Yes if Insurance Co's want to play hard ball lets play. What shocks me is that Congress is finally willing to take them on. I know so many people who don't have insurance or are loosing insurance everyday, while Ins companies are making record profits But the public option is what really scares the Health Insurance industry.

    October 15, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  102. Will Cooper

    Oh boy, YES! Take away their anti-trust exemption!

    The premiums for the single person, high deductible HSA policy we're struggling to pay for my wife have increased from $189. per month to $638 per month in just 5 years. The next big rate increase probably puts us over the clift. There's no one else we can get a policy from.

    Dorris, CA

    October 15, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  103. sewandsoxsales

    Absolutely. Remove the exemption and allow for some real competition among insurers.

    Sean Conlon
    New Haven, CT

    October 15, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  104. Vicky from MIlwaukee

    Yes, yes, yes. They only care about their bottom lines and CEO's outrageous salaries. The insurance companies have become the industrial in the industrial complex Eisenhower warned us about.

    October 15, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  105. DallasNE

    Yes, and I would tie it to a provision to allow insurance to be purchased across State lines. This tie-in has always been there so doing away with one should lead to the doing away with the other. Neither should be done separately.

    October 15, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  106. Kelly, Colorado

    Oh Yeah...

    If Republicans DON"T vote for this, how can they say they really are for competition?

    Lets call for a vote on this separately so we can skin out the snakes.

    October 15, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  107. Chris - IL

    Congress should absolutely do away with the health insurance industry's antitrust exemption. It seems pretty clear to me that this could be a big part of health care reform and a real opportunity to reduce costs.

    October 15, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  108. carolo

    If the one payer option was up for grabs, we wouldn't have to have these cheating insurance companies in the picture. Everyone should have a plan just like medicare for the seniors and paid for by the government. It would be worth it to have a tax increase.

    October 15, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  109. Larry

    Yes, we should do away with the antitrust exemption. It would actually make the inhumane profiteering insurance companies have to become more competitive with each other giving their hostage customers a well deserved break. Just where are all the religious groups on this issue? Kind of makes me wonder what their true values are.

    October 15, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  110. Wm, Penna

    Absolutely, YES!

    October 15, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  111. Teri in Palm Coast FL

    Yes, without a doubt or hesitation or even waiting for a full health care reform bill. They don't deserve any special consideration. The FTC came out with a report in July on this, but the media decided covering the Tea parties and town halls made for better ratings. Of course, we're still waiting for Cheney's tax breaks for the oil companies to be cut, but that hasn't happened either. So don't hold your breath, Jack.

    October 15, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  112. Ann from Hampton, New Jersey

    Immediately, if not sooner. Why should the insurance companies make millions to give to their CEO's off the backs of the American people? I know my supplement insurance went up this year from last and will probably go up again next year if something isn't done to curb their greed.

    October 15, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  113. Adam Simi Valley, CA

    Stop the presses...an actual free market, capitalist solution from the left? Wow that was unforeseen. Of course, they should revoke their anti-trust exemption. Let the Free market work. This whole time the Dems have been saying the free market has failed and we needed a government option, when in reality it was government interferance that enabled this situation in the first place. Gotta love it. The government is wrought with inefficiency and when they meddle in the free market, things like this happen. Revoke the anti-trust exemption and see how competition affects premiums. Better yet try to give me a logical argument to keep it. It's like auto insurance or life insurance. Let competition duke it out for our dollars and the premuims will drop like rocks as they try to attract the young, healthy crowd.

    October 15, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  114. Benjamin E Price

    Yes, the insurance companies should lose their antitrust exemption.

    On a basic level, I feel that if the bread-winner in your family works, regardless the amount of money you make, then that family deserves affordable health care in a country as great as these United States of America.

    And for those who want to continue this class system of only certain workers have a right to health insurance because certain other workers cannot afford it, shame on them.

    I want health care for all and whatever it costs me individually, it will be worth it so that everyone who is not insured can become insured.

    October 15, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  115. Dennis Wingo

    It is unbelievable that the people who are supposed to represent the people allow this to happen. 12 billion in profit! While people and families go without because they can't afford it. The life blood of this country is slowly being drained beyond replacement.

    October 15, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  116. Shaun

    With the Democrats pushing for some form of universal health-care, and the Republicans balking at the cost, this should be seen as a silver bullet. Remove the anti-trust exemption and the prices will naturally be driven down, thus allowing more money to flow into the markets from the consumers - this is good for both sides of the argument. The Democrats get their health care (though it's looking more like there will be no public option, more's the pity) and the Republicans get their lower costs - with NO grandmothers being sent to death panels, and even less cost all around.

    I like this.

    October 15, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  117. Steve Canada

    I think I would do more...tell these people that if they continue their torpedo job on health care, they WILL lose their anti-trust exemption..It just seems that politics cannot be one sided..Call it the people's voice, if you will...

    October 15, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  118. Mari, Salt Lake City, Utah

    YES, is this a capitalist country or not? Big Insurance is a cartel, Jack. The anti-trust laws do not apply to them. Meaning they get to rob us blind!

    Sadly, too many Americans do not know what "anti-trust" laws are!

    Scary to have an undereducated populace.

    October 15, 2009 at 4:38 pm |
  119. Dave

    Yes, do away with the antitrust exemption then allow interstate commerce and competition in the industry. Despite the recent knocks in the media, I feel that capitalism still works. If the market is transparent and open, some industrious soul will find a way to do it better and cheaper.

    October 15, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  120. Kim Smith, Dodge City, Kansas

    Of course the exemption should be removed. But Congress feeds at the teat of insurance companies, so don't hold your breath waiting for any changes there.

    October 15, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  121. Michael, Alexandria, VA

    Jack, if interstate pricing is made available as the Republicans want, then the anti-trust exemption must be overturned. Even without such a provision, because health insurance is federally subsidized for businesses, it is no longer just a state by state affair, so it should no longer be exempt (and should not have been) because we all foot the bill.

    October 15, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  122. Paul from Canada

    In my opinion go for it. Not only should they be treated like any other industry, they should be regulated to the maximum degree allowable by law. Deflating the anti-trust protection is one step, but even better would be cross state shopping and windfall taxes. The health insurance industry has way too much teeth and anything that promotes choice and prohibits collusion may help to keep these profit mongers somewhat honest. Believe me, they ain't going bankrupt anytime soon.

    October 15, 2009 at 4:43 pm |
  123. Lori - PA

    Yes they should. If it had the exemption had never been allowed in the first place, would we be in the mess we are in now? Can those in the Congress and Senate please start thinking about people like me, and come up with a health care reform bill that really benefits us? I'm watching to see what happens. If I am not happy, I will, in the next election, vote for someone else because I am fed up.

    October 15, 2009 at 4:43 pm |
  124. Sammy Rowland

    It's a dog-gone shame that the insurance companies can spend millions
    of dollars lobbying against any change – and then raise premiums to cover the cost of the lobbying. Congress – please give us the public option.

    October 15, 2009 at 4:46 pm |
  125. Marc

    Congress should look at ANYTHING that would help lower or keep insurance companies from "fixing" premiums. Health care purchased on an individual basis is extremely expensive (I recently had to go on COBRA, which cost $800/month, because I could not get individual insurance.


    October 15, 2009 at 4:48 pm |
  126. Sammy Rowland

    It’s a dog-gone shame that the insurance companies can spend millions
    of dollars lobbying against any change – and then raise premiums to cover the cost of the lobbying. Congress – please give us the public option.
    Kingsland, Ga

    October 15, 2009 at 4:48 pm |
  127. Bill from pa

    No. They should do away with the health insurance industry. Health Care is one of those areas that I, and I think many others, feel should be off limits to the profiteering of the insurance industry. It's got more than enough profiteering already enjoyed by Pharma and other health care providers.

    October 15, 2009 at 4:51 pm |
  128. James

    Cafferty if Congress strips the insurance industry of anti-trust exemption then they also need to get rid of the reason they were granted the exemption in the first place. Congress needs to allow companies to sell insurance across state lines which is the surest way to increase competition.

    October 15, 2009 at 4:51 pm |
  129. Linda

    They should do it TODAY, effective immediately. They should not wait and attach it to the health care reform bill. I'd love to see anyone in Congress defend this exemption.

    October 15, 2009 at 4:52 pm |
  130. Philly/PA

    Yes. This is one of the things along with tort reform that the republicans have been pushing for. As an independent, I am always fearful when one party has control of congress, senate and the presidency.

    October 15, 2009 at 4:52 pm |
  131. Albert K.. L.A, CA

    Jack, is this some kind of sick joke? For Congress to argue over doing away with the antitrust exemption while at the same time writing a so-called reform bill without a public option to set a honest price, but forces people to buy protection, it seems like we are doing away with the “free” market and creating a mutant offspring between capitalism, government and organized crime; de jure extortionist! Antitrust concerns are moot!

    October 15, 2009 at 4:52 pm |
  132. Gary - Woodhaven, Michigan

    When are we going to have some level of higher consciousness?

    Congress does the right thing only when provoked or exposed.
    Wall Street does the right thing only when they are near collapse.
    Citizens only speak up when their livelihoods are in jeopardy.

    Kind of like my kids when they got caught or are scared. Isn't it time we all start acting like the self disciplined, virtuous, conscious persons we claim to all be? Isn't it time we place compassion, gratitude, faith, hope and love ahead of self interest, ego, and greed?

    October 15, 2009 at 4:52 pm |
  133. Joseph

    Dear Jack,

    I think that it is fairly obvious that the exemption for health insurance companies needs to be withdrawn. If we continue down this path of special interest groups-lobbying firms ruling our politics, the average citizen will be without: 1). health insurance, 2). retirement funds, & 3), in credit debt up to the eyeballs right up until the grave.


    Brooklyn, NY

    October 15, 2009 at 4:53 pm |
  134. Birddog in Mississippi

    Anti-Trust is exactly the right thing to do and think about the Insurance Companies, literally. Anti-trust, mistrust, distrust, nontrust, not-in-a-snowballs-chance-in-heck-trust... you get the point.

    October 15, 2009 at 4:54 pm |
  135. Marion/ Alabama

    Jack,they need to be allowed to compete across state lines,not lose their exemption . We did not have to bail them out, so why do away with the antitrust exemption. Some Tort reform would help also.

    October 15, 2009 at 4:55 pm |
  136. Andrew Tuffnell

    Should congress repeal the McCarran-Ferguson Act?

    One word: YES

    i'm really tired of the commerce clause of the constitution being used to justify everything from outlawing medical marijuana to permittin collusion among the rich white men who run these financial entities that provide insurance products.

    October 15, 2009 at 4:56 pm |
  137. john blanchard

    This is probably the last chance in my adult lifetime (and even in my children's lives) that we can get this close to creating a humane US healthcare system.

    The anti-trust exemption ought to be eliminated for insurors and baseball both!

    Suquamish, Washington

    October 15, 2009 at 4:56 pm |
  138. Roy Jones

    My 2 Senators, The Texas Bobbsie Twins, have already sold out to the insurance companies. As have most, if not all, of our trusted? congresspeople. But the rest of you may get this much needed thing done.

    October 15, 2009 at 4:56 pm |
  139. Rosemary

    YES!!, When will the people start to pay attention, that the needs of the Insurance Companies are more important to our Congress then the American People.

    The Government should never let corporations get to the point where they know better what is best of the people as they line their pockets against the people. Look where that has gotten this country. Almost another Great Depression.

    We had it right after the New Deal, but for some reason the Reagan Lovers were convinced that Government is the Problem. How is that one working for everyone. What has happened the transfer of wealth and now Liz Chaney wants to head a group of War Mongers who want to keep us in War while they have never served a day in the Military, and non of their children will be making the ultimate sacrifice.

    October 15, 2009 at 4:56 pm |
  140. Hugh

    I have two words for you!

    Hell yes


    October 15, 2009 at 4:57 pm |
  141. Dwayne Houston Tx.

    Antitrust laws should be done away with in the health care industry, just like other companies they should be regulated and with a death grip I might add, They've substituted human life for money. And with this we should say choose: choose to make money the old fashioned way where the services you offer are good enough to attract the customer or choose the quick way out and face a government run intervention that will wipe you into oblivion.

    October 15, 2009 at 4:58 pm |
  142. Mari Radtke

    I am from Iowa and our Senator Grassley has been very up front in his opposition to every proposal that has been brought forward regarding healthcare. Here is a situation for Senator Grassley to take into the meetings regarding health care reform.

    I made an application of private health insurance for my 17-year-old healthy son. The original quote was $62 and change. After looking at his history I am told by the insurance agent (they claim I was sent an offer letter. I've never received it.) that the coverage would cost $125 and change per month.

    The Wellmark Blue Cross/Blue Shield customer service line cannot answer why. Only citing that the underwriting department "must have found something in his history that they think may be a problem."

    The underwriters tried to send me back to customer service to find out why. The underwriting secretary took my name and number so that the person who can answer that "should" call me back with that information.

    I'm turning blue holding my breath for that call.


    October 15, 2009 at 4:58 pm |
  143. Keith Belk

    Of course we should do this. When us normal folks lie, cheat, steal, conspire and murder we often get caught and punished. Then, on an individual basis we don't give millions to hundreds of the folks in congress.

    October 15, 2009 at 5:00 pm |
  144. SMAG , Munhall , Pa.

    You Betcha Jack , and while we're at it lets take away Congress health care benefits too and make them pay for their own health insurance. Then lets see how fast things would get done.....days maybe????

    October 15, 2009 at 5:00 pm |
  145. Dennis

    Yea, I believe they should strip them of the antitrust exemption, they have been putting it to us for years. Time or Change as Obama says.

    October 15, 2009 at 5:01 pm |
  146. ATL Guy

    I am appalled that the insurance companies had these levels of deference that other companies do not have.

    October 15, 2009 at 5:01 pm |
  147. colt

    The antitrust exemption is outdated to say the least. How long is Congress going to keep letting this guys get away with murder? This will go a long way in proving that the Health Insurance Industry does not own Congress. If the exemption stays in effect we know who runs things. Good for Schumer. At least he's got a backbone.

    October 15, 2009 at 5:01 pm |
  148. Adam Simi Valley, CA

    Who needs a public option if we revoke their exemption? The free market is vastly more efficient at lowering costs than anything the government does. Look at the Post office or Amtrak if you need examples. This would be the meaningful reform people are looking for. By itself, it doesn't address the enormous burden of illegals, but it is a step in the right direction.

    October 15, 2009 at 5:02 pm |
  149. Mari Radtke

    Why wouldn't Congress get rid of the anti-trust exemption? At the same time why, than wouldn't Congress allow insurance companies to compete across state lines?

    Seems to me that if Congress allows interstate commerce for insurance companies, their excuse to be exempted from anti-trust simply goes away.
    Mari R. Iowa

    October 15, 2009 at 5:03 pm |
  150. Kim

    Insurance companies have had this legal form of collusion for 60 years.

    Now maybe there was a need back then but not now, this is essentially a farm subsidy for companies that don't need it. Each state has to oversee the insurance companies and regulate them, making it easier for people or companies to take advantage of people within each state.

    Imagine one state finding a flaw in a type of policy or coverage, it is now up to each state to find and rectify those policies!

    October 15, 2009 at 5:03 pm |
  151. Juli in Austin

    YES YES YES. That is what is standing in the way of actual real comprehensive healthcare reform–the insurance companies dont want anyone to cut into their profits. It is the insurance giants that are fueling the opposition. Why would Americans truly be against a healthcare plan that would give them free preventative care and lower their out of pocket expenses if they were not filled with insurance propaganda convincing them to act against their own interests?

    October 15, 2009 at 5:03 pm |
  152. John, Fort Collins, CO

    Every year the health insurance policy for our company goes "out to bid" and we end up with a double-digit increase in premiums from the "low bidder". All made possible by a bought-and-paid-for Congress that has known all along that the health insurance companies were in collusion and fixing prices each year. An anti-trust law including the health insurance industry should be signed into law immediately, with retroactive rebates to all the companies and individuals who were screwed by the lack of honest competition.

    October 15, 2009 at 5:03 pm |
  153. Izzy

    Seriously!!! Do we need to do a lot of thinking here? Take the anti-trust exemption away!

    October 15, 2009 at 5:04 pm |
  154. Kim in minneapolis

    October 15th, 2009 5:03 pm ET
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    Insurance companies have had this legal form of collusion for 60 years.

    Now maybe there was a need back then but not now, this is essentially a farm subsidy for companies that don’t need it. Each state has to oversee the insurance companies and regulate them, making it easier for people or companies to take advantage of people within each state.

    Imagine one state finding a flaw in a type of policy or coverage, it is now up to each state to find and rectify those policies!

    October 15, 2009 at 5:04 pm |
  155. Mark Cornelius

    Absolutely. But they will not, and you will now find out who's on the take from these companies too.

    October 15, 2009 at 5:04 pm |
  156. Mitch

    Hell yes, how the hell did the crooks ever get an "antitrust exemption" in the first place! Hold it, there buddies of long ago, Congress!

    Dunedin, Florida

    October 15, 2009 at 5:05 pm |
  157. Joe Sephus

    Jack ,

    If they don't pass the public option, everyone should drop the insurance
    companies. Deposit the money that they shell out to the insurance companies into their own personal account. Then when and if they need to see a doctor, pay out of that account, keeping any money left over as
    their own, instead of the insurance companies pocketing the money.

    Who needs to shell out big bucks to the insurance companies for them to treat us like we're the sucker in 'Three Card Monty'.

    That's been my theory for fifty years, Jack. The only person who has
    gotten rich off my money is ME.

    October 15, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  158. GWTripp in Pennsylvania

    Yes. It was a travesty to begin with. It is time to right that wrong.

    October 15, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  159. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    Yes, Jack, and interstate competition should be allowed. Why should insurance companies be exempt from true competition?

    October 15, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  160. Peter

    I thought competition was the basis on a free market economy? I would think Republicans would be the one's pushing this and not Democrats?

    Gee, maybe its not a question of what but a question of who?

    We need compaign finance reform now.

    October 15, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  161. c0uchtime

    What will Congress do without the money they have come to depend upon from the insurance industry? Withdrawal is not a pretty sight and if the industry loses its antitrust exemption and has to actually compete, with one another or with a public option, they will lose ground and eventually collapse. All of those out-of-work lobbyists and jonesing Congressionals will be a pitiful sight to see....

    October 15, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  162. bill

    That would be great.they should be held accountable for thier actions like every other company in this country and with those profit margins after paying those big bucks to the corperate elites.They need reforming like auto insurance and other brands of insureances have over the years.you can get gieco all over the country yet the health insureace companys enjoy almost total monopoies in thier regions with little or no compition to thier rates and enjoy huge profits at the cost of the people.

    October 15, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  163. Dave

    Not yes – but HELL YES! The health insurance CEOs are the last of the robber barons

    October 15, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  164. Nancy, Tennessee

    Maybe the Democrats in Congress will wake up and smell the coffee this time. It's about time they spend some of their time looking at what's really going on and do something about it. If you are out here buying insurance, you know your options aren't great. The only way to get decent health insurance with affordable premiums is through an employer. Everyone is for free enterprise. Let's give it to them.

    October 15, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  165. Juan Romero

    We are looking up and down for an answer to the health care quaqmire. The answer is extremely simple and it is right in front of our faces.

    whenever we decided to allow anyone to profit out of someones misery, that in itself is a misery. The sicker you are, the more money you will generate. If you dont have insurance, well, you can always die.

    Healthcare should be nonprofit period. It shoudl be both immoral and ilegal to profit out of somebaody's catastrophe. But then again, this is just wishful thinking. The profeteers are relentless and we are too sick to even fight.

    October 15, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  166. Larry; Kernersville NC

    The insurance company anti-trust exemption statusshould be voided. With two companies controlling pricing in over 40 states...sounds like interstate commerce, or in other words, a monopoly. Who is in a position to offer competition? They're working toward another Microsoft status. The key is competition and lower prices and the insurance industry has neither...maybe a "public option" is the solution vice the exemption. The public options is sounding better and better as I listen to women with regard to C-sections denials, pre-existing condition drops, and the recent scaring of senior citizens.

    October 15, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  167. Jeremy in Albuquerque

    As the parent of a 7 year old, I have been dealing with health insurance companies for many years, and I can tell you sincerely that the health insurance industry doesn't care one bit about the health of my child or myself. I wonder how much of that $12 billion was once mine. Do away with their antitrust exemption? Yes Please!! Do away with private health insurance companies altogether? I wouldn't shed one tear.

    October 15, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  168. Ronald Holst

    YES .

    October 15, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  169. Delia

    Yes! This is supposed to be a capitalistic society, where competition regulates the markets. They have an unfair advantage. Of course, we're also giving them an unfair advantage by fining people who don't get insurance. We give with one hand and take with another. RIDICULOUS.

    October 15, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  170. Gail, Plano,Texas

    Most definitely the exemption for the insurance companies should be withdrawn. Why have they had an exemption all this time? But Jack, since there us no profanity in this comment, you will not read this on air. It probably will not even make your blog. I have been without health insurance for more than 20 years after a divorce and job loss. I now have Medicare which my doctor does not take because it requires too much paperwork! I am fortunate to be in good health at this time. High blood pressure is controlled by drugs which cost a lot even with senior drug plan. Do you know that I must satisfy a $250 deductible before plan kicks in? Also, monthly rates for plan have gone from $10 a month to $41.40 in 4 years! Outrageous! Were it not for the charity of my son, I would be homeless. Social security is my only income. $918 a month. Doesn't go very far. A sad comment on our times.

    October 15, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  171. Joe Sephus

    Jack ,

    If they don’t pass the public option, everyone should drop the insurance
    companies. Deposit the money that they shell out to the insurance companies into their own personal account. Then when and if they need to see a doctor, pay out of that account, keeping any money left over as
    their own, instead of the insurance companies pocketing the money.

    Who needs to shell out big bucks to the insurance companies for them to treat us like we’re the sucker in ‘Three Card Monty’.

    That’s been my theory for fifty years, Jack. The only person who has
    gotten rich off my money is ME.

    October 15, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  172. Blake

    How about they do away with the antitrust regulations as well as open up competition across state lines.

    October 15, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  173. Aaron, Owings Mills, MD

    Absolutely, Jack! Health insurance companies are private businesses that should be able to compete without antitrust exemptions like every other private business in private industry. Congress will eliminate price-fixing, collusion,other corrupt and unfair practices by taking away this exemption. furthermore, health insurance companies will be forced to compete on their own merits and behave like public utilities. Health insurance companies made explicit threats to hike health insurance premiums in order to derail health reform initiatives. This kind of blackmail should not be tolerated and must be dealt with. This is the best way to do it! Also, instituting a robust Public Option is another best way!

    October 15, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  174. Peter M

    Yep, do away with it. These greedy insurance oligarchs need to be regulated; open them up to competition.

    October 15, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  175. Dan

    Absolutely. The fact that the medical system is a for profit business is shocking in the first place. If this is just a political ploy and the insurance companies are that heavily regulated, then what do they stand to lose by repealing that anti-trust exemption. Kaiser Permanente is a non profit organization that rakes in BILLIONS of dollars a year and has no corporate taxes due to their tax status. If they and other insurance and health care providers are in such a bad place where did they get the $263,000,000.00 to spend on lobbying they have spent so far this year?? Level the playing field and pay them for the number of people they cure and heal, not the number they treat per hour.

    October 15, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  176. Barb - Arizona

    Yes indeed. They have had a gravy train since 1945. AND, we should have some kind of Gov. Ins. to attempt to keep insurance companies honest and fees reasonable. If not the ins. companies will have their legal departmen find a way to skirt around the laws and then we, the insured, will still get it in the shorts. NO MORE SHOULD THEY BE ALLOWED TO USE "PRE EXISTING CONDITION" SO THEY DON'T HAVE TO INSURE YOU, They just Pick and Choose at their discretion. What A Joke!!!!!

    October 15, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  177. John in NH

    One word. Absolutely!

    October 15, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  178. Aaron

    Oh yeah, it well past due for these guys! I can't believe their whining about how "they are the most regulated industry." WHATEVER! They still seem to be doing pretty well for themselves, regulation or not, w/ us peasants feeling the pinch.
    If you work for the health insurance industry I hope you feel ashamed for not holding your fellow human beings in higher regard and your employers to better business practices. While you slave away at your desk, corporate fat cats get rich off of your well being and the hardships of others.

    October 15, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  179. KG, Twin Cities, MN

    Hello Jack,

    Yes! I am a health insurance employee that cannot afford to go the doctor.

    October 15, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  180. Deb Leyva

    Of course congress should do away with the antitrust exemption; greedy insurance and drug companies need to provide health care to all rather then profit centers for greedy investors.

    Let's hope we get this accomplished along with a strong public option...then maybe we will actually begin to take care of our sick before they need to go to the emergency room and ...dare I say it....offer preventative care to all .

    October 15, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  181. RJ, Michigan

    Definitely!!! Way overdue.

    October 15, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  182. Michael - Lebanon, PA

    The biggest concern about health care reform in general is affordability. How can the government propose something "affordable" when it has no control over the people setting the prices? The antitrust exemption has to go. The insurance companies already told the entire country that they were going to raise rates regardless of what the government does to help the citizens of the US. In fact, the insurance companies themselves need to go. It's time for a Public Option.

    October 15, 2009 at 5:31 pm |
  183. Adam Simi Valley, CA

    Stop the presses…an actual free market, capitalist solution from the left? Wow that was unforeseen. Of course, they should revoke their anti-trust exemption. Let the Free market work. This whole time the Dems have been saying the free market has failed and we needed a government option, when in reality it was government interferance that enabled this situation in the first place. Gotta love it. The government is wrought with inefficiency and when they meddle in the free market, things like this happen. Revoke the anti-trust exemption and see how competition affects premiums. Better yet try to give me a logical argument to keep it. It’s like auto insurance or life insurance. Let competition duke it out for our dollars and the premuims will drop like rocks as they try to attract the young, healthy crowd.

    October 15, 2009 at 5:31 pm |
  184. Ben from Maine

    This seems like a no-brainer.

    Competition is good for business. Whether it's a first year economics student, or a congressman from either party (most vocally though, (R) ), this is common knowledge.

    Maybe if they actually had to deal with competition, instead of colusion, they could be making money hand-over-fist, and reduce the uninsured at the same time. Instead they get to conspire, and pocket the scratch after thoroughly gouging us.

    One of the 47 million uninsured

    October 15, 2009 at 5:34 pm |
  185. Cary Crawford

    Some local monopolies are not just unavoidable but practical. Consider railroads, electric power grids, natural gas pipelines. Duplicating infrastructure for the sake of competition is a tenuous argument at best.
    Considering the amount of insurance money spent on lobbying both sides, one wonders how they can honestly label themselves as "regulated". Yes Jack, insurance companies should no longer be allowed monopoly status.

    October 15, 2009 at 5:36 pm |
  186. Connor

    Yes, do away with the antitrust exemption enjoyed by the health insurance companies! Absolutely!

    October 15, 2009 at 5:36 pm |
  187. Adam Simi Valley, CA

    They need to revoke the exemption and blow up the companies into a numerous smaller companies, similar to the baby-bells and AT&T. It's a no brainer. How can people still want a public option when government was the reason this all happened anyway. If they enforced the law like they should have, this would never have been allowed to happen. I can actually get behind this kind of change. the public option is a terrible idea, it will necessarily lead to rationing of healthcare whille the agency tries to control costs, and if you have out lived your productiveness in the society, you better hope you don't get sick. Where do you think the savings is going to come from?

    October 15, 2009 at 5:36 pm |
  188. Bob - in Augusta

    Yes – absolutely!

    There is no reason they should be exempted from anti-trust laws.

    October 15, 2009 at 5:37 pm |
  189. Clay

    Finally, a sensible proposal. Who would have thunk it out of Washington...

    October 15, 2009 at 5:37 pm |
  190. Art

    I'd vote for that, but even more important: when are we going to get back $100 to $500 billion of fraud each year, of which we now recover a paltry $2 billion a year at most!

    Seems that the old 1-2-3 sequence of Waste, Fraud and Abuse has been shortened to just Waste and Abuse [whatever these are defined as] since the government expert on fraud gave the above annual estimate to Sen. Specter's Justice sub-committee on May 20th.

    Obama's $50 billion a year cut of Medicare is supposed to be offset by recoveries from these activities, but good old Eric Holder and Kathleen Sibelius HEAT program announced that same May day hasn't raised enough BTU's to "sweat a drop if water off a ice cube".

    Guess they don't plan on recovering much since they set a "goal" of $2 billion over 5 years" and they don't have to recover anything if the healthcare bill goes through; as they will already have the Medicare cut they need.

    Now Barack is sending all the seniors checks for $250. $13 billion from another source to add to the deficit while cutting $500 billion of Medicaid over 10 years. Is this guy a great Illusionist or what? Making money appear out of thin air by stealing from the seniors! Next thing you know he’ll rob the poor box [Medicaid] and leave the states bankrupt too! When will these programs go broke?

    October 15, 2009 at 5:38 pm |
  191. Rik

    I'm reading the comments here and there seems to be a unanimous consensus for this plan. Can anyone make a cogent argument against it? It will be truly sad if Congress cannot muster the courage to stand up to the insurance industry on something with such overwhelming public support. How can we translate this support into actual Congressional action?

    October 15, 2009 at 5:38 pm |
  192. Pete - Augusta Ga

    Jack –

    Long overdue (exempted insurance industry 65 years ago) – just shows how powerful the lobbyists in Washington really are, and how many members of Congress are in their pockets.

    After that maybe Congress could do away with the antitrust exemption of baseball, fire the commissioner & we could get Pete Rose into the Hall of Fame – finally!

    October 15, 2009 at 5:39 pm |
  193. cane pazzo

    Write your elected representatives demanding that this perversion be stopped. Whining about it here is just a waste of time.

    October 15, 2009 at 5:41 pm |
  194. Jonathan Burton

    Definately Jack,

    This is not the solution, but it will be needed when it all comes tumbling down. The health insurance companies are running a bogus business model that does not work. I am an RN for 7 years now and see the path our healthcare system is on. It is a road to ruin.
    With an increasingly aged baby boomer population, combined with the influx of immigrants, and the national pandemics of obesity related illnesses and diabetes, the health insurance companies will bankrupt america trying to turn a profit in this field. They cannot be sustained and must be phased out like the incandescent light bulb.
    Initailly we will need competetion to find the best solutions to our healthcare debacle, and repealing this act is a necessary beginning to providing quality healthcare at a lower cost to consumers and taxpayers.

    October 15, 2009 at 5:43 pm |
  195. jose occonor

    It needs to go away, if they claim they are so regulated, taking away attrust won't make them more regulated, it will level the playing field, bringing profits down, they know it, and that's why they are against it, ask the Senator from delaware he should know.

    October 15, 2009 at 5:43 pm |
  196. Michael Shea

    My wife works for Blue Cross /Blue Shield in New Mexico. As a LPN she gets paid quite well by the Blues.

    However as citizens we both feel this country is overdue for "REAL" health care reform.

    We both believe the time has come for single payer. However we recognize that Obama is too cautious to push for single-payer and most of congress is bought off by the health care industry so we will accept a robust "PUBLIC OPTION" as a start. Anything less is no health care reform!!

    October 15, 2009 at 5:43 pm |
  197. Tom from Philly

    First we get rid of the anti trust laws then when america wakes up and begins understanding that to big to fail corporate greed is more expensive than government inefficiency, we can use the next social security suplus (wake up that tax is going up again) to build hospitals and educate doctors. The unfunded mandate in medicare is based on buying seniors an INSURANCE POLICY. I don't want to wait until 70 to get SS/Medicare, and i will never have 40k a year to buy health insurance, and even you jack dont make enough to tax to subsidize one.

    It is time to make the banks and insurance companies provide services for us instead of our working to pay their fees and premiums. There is a balance somewhere in between.

    October 15, 2009 at 5:44 pm |
  198. Challen vonJunsch

    Absolutely, do away with the exemption! We have given entirely too much power to insurance companies-treating them as if they were like churches or sacred cows. Americans should know that the corporate god is not a loving god.

    October 15, 2009 at 5:46 pm |
  199. Debbie from CA

    Absolutely YES and as soon as possible! The point of the law is to increase competition and prevent abusive behavior by the insurance companies. They do not deserve any exemption and they should be regulated as a financial institution as well!

    October 15, 2009 at 5:47 pm |
  200. Sharon, Rockford, IL

    Yes, but I would like to see them go a step further – insist that there be no for profit insurance companies. Require them to become not for profit. It is criminal to reap multimillion dollar profits at the expense of the health of the American people. I understand there are always administrative costs but these costs should be at maximum 10% of each premium dollar.

    October 15, 2009 at 5:47 pm |
  201. brogan

    Yes. In fact congress should do away with all of their silly laws that hinder the industry's ability to compete with each other. How about the law that says they can't compete across state lines? The competition problem has more to do with what laws congress has passed then with the actual industry itself, and now we want to let them pass another 1300 page bill that will likely hinder it further? The regulations congress has passed on the industry have not only not helped us, they've hurt us more. So why on earth would we want them to pass more regulations?

    October 15, 2009 at 5:48 pm |
  202. keith, Lancaster ky

    How funny these people are , now they are threating to do what republicians have been saying would bring real competion to the insurance companies and save the american people billions, so I would say these are empty threats, after all their main focus is more control over the people. The ability to buy insurance across state lines is the answer, not a Rube Goldburg project from a bunch liberials.

    October 15, 2009 at 5:48 pm |
  203. Deb-Ohio

    Yes, the anti-trust exemption should be done away with. After the bogus letter sent by IHIP Monday our elected officials should do all they can to stop this monopoly! They have already promised that our insurance premiums are going to go up. Purchasing insurance across state lines will make little difference, as a handful of insurance companies already own the smaller subsidiaries. This is a no brainer! We need a strong public option!

    October 15, 2009 at 5:49 pm |
  204. Barbara NY

    Absolutely! Get rid of the antitrust exemption for the insurance cartels. They have taken advantage of their customers long enough. And while we're at it–get rid of all the insurance lobbyists. They should all be ashamed of what they have done to the American people and for their part in wrecking our economy.

    October 15, 2009 at 5:51 pm |
  205. Gary Davis

    I love these debates. First, we say that free markets don't work and legislate them away. Next, we wonder why we have high prices and little competition. Finally, we ask the government to solve the very problem they created! Sound familiar?

    October 15, 2009 at 5:52 pm |
  206. Pat, Dallas, TX

    It's ludicrous and long over due. What are we still waiting for? Let's do away with the exemption now!!!

    October 15, 2009 at 5:56 pm |
  207. Ronald Holst

    Jack From The Answers to your question you should forward all of these to congress . And Hope they read them better than they do most bills .
    San Antonio, TX

    October 15, 2009 at 5:56 pm |
  208. Kevin

    This would never happen. We have too many members of Congress like Chuck Grassley who will continue to do anything and everything to protect the insurance industry. After all, this is the same senator that said the insurance industry would go under if a public option was made available. Where do you think his loyalities lie?

    October 15, 2009 at 6:08 pm |
  209. Frank from Gilroy

    As long as Insurance companies and other big business can "BUY" these whores in the Congress we will have what we've got.

    "The Best Government Money Can Buy"

    Why else would educated politicians get up and make asinine statements that are void of any reality?

    It’s all about the money, Jack.

    October 15, 2009 at 6:08 pm |
  210. Mike L, Tulsa, OK

    I don't know what you think about this Jack, but it sounds like to me that it is a Government Healthcare "ponzi-scheme" posing as an "advocate for the masses". I believe in the long run the cost from malpractice suits and other litigation will pass to the consumers who have private healthcare and eventually put the private healthcare companies out of business. This eventually leading up to the situation where we will have to go to a single payer system. Can we say, "dependence and control"? How long will we put up with these back-door schemes to undermine and destroy our precious freedoms!

    October 15, 2009 at 6:08 pm |
  211. Patricia

    Let's keep the good ideas coming. That's how we can actually accomplish something.


    October 15, 2009 at 6:09 pm |
  212. Dear Art the Senior


    Stealing from Seniors? Seniors are stealing from younger Americans. Without our tax dollars, Medicare and Social Security would ALREADY be insolvent. That is to say, the amounts of money seniors paid into the system during their working lifetimes were simply inadequete. A young person today will pay into these programs four times as much as someone retiring today did during their working lifetime.

    You claim that someone has their hand in your pocket when you have your hands in the pockets of your children and grandchildren. Gather the facts first.

    Tired of subsidizing seniors

    October 15, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  213. Dee in FL

    Do away with the health care insurance companies altogether!!!

    Medicine should NOT be a for-profit industry, at least not for profit on the present scale!

    What everyone needs to remember is that the health care insurance companies do NOTHING for our health care. they are BROKERS and like the brokers who engineered the mprtgage collapse, they are solely out for what THEY can make, NOT what they can do for their insured!

    Think, people! Paying the INSURANCE companies for health care is NOT getting health care, It ias making some pencil pusher rich because you are paying the insurance companies to broker a deal!

    How stupid is that?

    October 15, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  214. Ken

    Absolutely. There is no rational reason for exempting health insurers from anti-trust laws.

    October 15, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  215. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    Yes Jack!

    October 15, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  216. C. Yost


    October 15, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  217. Jeannie

    DUH! Now figure out how to let them do business across state lines too!!

    October 15, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  218. Justin


    October 15, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  219. Scott from Clemson, SC

    YES!!!! I'm totally with you Jack. Make these people INSURE US instead of tearing money out of our pockets!

    October 15, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  220. Dr Watson

    This is as they say a "no brainer"

    October 15, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  221. Wayne R Johnson

    Yes, and hell yes

    October 15, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  222. Rodney

    Absolutely, but probaly will never be done. Just goes to demonstrate the "back room" power the insurance companies have. Republicans will never go for this, they are bought and paid for. I am a pharmacist and wrestle with these companies every day. This is a monopoly that needs to be broken up.

    October 15, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  223. Deborah Gostin

    Yes! Yes!

    October 15, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  224. Elizabeth Buelow

    Absolutely, emphatically, YES.

    October 15, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  225. Annie, Atlanta

    Yes. It should have been done already. I, too, wonder where this little factoid’s been hiding. And my senators and representative don’t agree with health care for me, just for them so they no longer respond to my e-mails. They’re real stand-up guys.

    October 15, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  226. Chase

    Absolutely...has congress not heard of corporatisim? Obviously not.

    October 15, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  227. Terrence

    Yes. Wait a minute. Hell yeah!

    October 15, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  228. Kay, TX

    YES! YES! A thousand times, YES!

    October 15, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  229. Bill & Lib

    Yes, Jack, and yes, yes, yes. The insurance industry has gotten a bye for half a century. They need to be accountable in the same way those of us who are broke are having to do.

    October 15, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  230. Kathy Rayford

    I say absolutely YES!!!!!!!.

    October 15, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  231. mike

    Absolutely Jack!

    October 15, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  232. Bob In Florida

    YES, YES, YES, YES, YES ALREADY!!!!! This INSANITY has to stop. Greed and corruption takes precedence over LIFE AND HEALTH. This is a Twilight Zone episode that is scarier and more cruel than all others put together.

    We either need to STOP this greed, or put 435 politicians in the BREAD LINES.

    October 15, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  233. Charlotte Araki

    You bet. About time!

    October 15, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  234. Dale in Alabama

    Heck, yes! Heck, yes!

    That is an excellent idea, and I wonder how we got into this condition to begin with!

    October 15, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  235. Alison T

    YES! The greed of the insurance industry is killing Americans!

    October 15, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  236. Krzysztof

    Do away with the antitrust exemption? Alright, that sounds reasonable. But don't replace these private health insurance "monopolies" with a government-run public option that will inevitably turn into its own monopoly, only one that would be infinitely more dangerous.

    October 15, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  237. Larry Davies

    No, Jack, that's not enough. They should do away with the insurance companies and have Medicare for All.

    Jacksonville, Florida

    October 15, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  238. bestofincome

    Absolutely. It is about time someone has the guts to fight back against the insurance companies. I have been waiting and waiting to see someone...anyone stand up for the American people instead of the lobbyists and insurance companies.

    Could this finally be it? I hope so!

    – Chris Hubbard

    October 15, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  239. Max

    Yes they should but they should also do tort reform. They should not force new legislation and spend billions counting on cutting Medicare until they prove they know how to run it correctly. This current legislation is nothing more then more free lunch for Unions and welfare. In fact they should call it HealthFare and not healthcare.

    October 15, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  240. James from Albany, NY

    I'll take your hint on this one .... yes! The health insurance lobby successfully sunk HillaryCare but if (a big if) congress wakes up the health insurance industry will be hit hard by this whole plan.

    We can all thank Nixon for putting us in our current predicament.

    October 15, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  241. vstamper

    Where have the Democrats been on this issue? We need to do away with this exemption yesterday!!!

    October 15, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  242. Tina

    Absolutely, yes. Insurance companies have proven they are in it for themselves. They couldn't care less about the little people. Any way we can rein them in is a good thing. Put the screws to them the way they've been screwing us. Maybe then they'll have a heart. Or a conscience. That would be a shock.
    Tina in Florence, Oregon

    October 15, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  243. Kevin Cahill

    Yes, Congress should do away with the insurance industry's anti-trust exemption.

    The one for MLB also should go.

    October 15, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  244. ej

    Let's see the Health market monopolizing, Oil, Gas and Power monopolizing in a pretty much secret market and all of them monopolizing America to DEATH! OF course congress should remove these and make all the markets fair, otherwise Americans will continue to see the cost of life, cost us more than we can afford! Our livelihood!

    October 15, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  245. Jeff Crocket in New Britain, CT

    The democrats and Obama have been protecting their money baggers!
    Remember Obama said he had a deal with the insurance companies!!

    Free trade and tort reform(capping lawyer fees) will solve this healthcare situation!!

    October 15, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  246. Richard Allan Marti Jr

    YES, it is about time companies and the executive that run them be accountable ( just as every small business owner is.)

    October 15, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  247. Bertrand

    DUH!!! As a health care worker I find it rather sickening that health care prices are as outrageous as they are. I think that the price of services should be the same across the board, you get the same amount of service no matter where you go. It's not like you are checking in to the Hilton when you check into the hospital, common guys get real.

    October 15, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  248. Jimmy G

    Absolutely Jack. When insurance companies conspire to maintain costs up, and of course greed is what drives them, then Americans reap those burdens. As one of the so called "young invincible", I have no trust in our healthcare insurers as I do our banking system.

    October 15, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  249. Mark Brewer

    OMG! YES!!!! Where has this been hidden all this time?

    October 15, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  250. Terry

    Yes, we should remove the anti-trust exemption for health insurance companies.

    October 15, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  251. Joni Colorado Springs

    YES,YES!! We need to stop rewarding the money grubbing vultures sucking our lifes blood. Congress wake up stop scooping up their favors.

    October 15, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  252. Alicia

    To add to what I said previously, it's time we stop rewarding insurance companies and Wall Street for bad behavior.

    Congress needs to take a page from Teddy Roosevelt and do them some trust-busting!

    October 15, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  253. A. T.; Atlanta, GA

    The Key is 2 things:
    !- Shop for health insurance across states line;
    2- A public option run by the Federal Government.
    I am for this 2 to be included in the final bill.

    October 15, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  254. Donna Maine-Smith

    No Jack, we shouldn't do away with the anti-trust exemption – we should do away with the insurance companies altogether. WHY do we have this middleman who profits off of our misfortunes? They serve no purpose whatsoever. Single-payer is the only way to go but the cronies in Washington are too busy bathing in all those campaign contributions from the healthcare industry to even notice.

    October 15, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  255. Susan Key

    Definitely get rid of the antitrust examption for insurance companies AND restrict insurance company lobbying to $0. They can reinvest those saved dollars to reduce their costs and profits.

    October 15, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  256. Mark Ward

    NO. NOT unless and until the STATE REGULATIONS (prohibiting them from offering policies across state lines). Right NOW, as you KNOW, Jack, EACH STATE MANDATES what MUST be covered and how much the Insurance Companies can charge for those policies.

    IF Insurance Companies were allowed to offer policies with JUST the coverage that the Policy HOLDER (that's WE, THE PEOPLE) want, then WE would not have to pay for UNWANTED premiums.

    October 15, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  257. smd

    Yes because insurance company's have been free to do as they wish for to long

    October 15, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  258. Jim Schultz

    DUH!!! Ya think? Where the heck has congress been? Oh! That's right, probably counting there contribution money from the health insurance companies!!

    October 15, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  259. Steve

    Absolutely repeal the companies' anti-trust exemption.

    October 15, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  260. Peter Rosenbaum

    I think Congress should do away with the insurance industry's anti-trust exemption and should have done so long ago.

    October 15, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  261. eve

    Yes, Yes, YES...by the way – does anyone else think that the insurance companies run the ultimate in "bait and switch" schemes?

    October 15, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  262. Russ, Golden, CO

    YES!!! I suspect that the Dems have been holding this card for a while, waiting for the health insurers to pull the bogus anti-reform report stunt "sucker punch" that they did. They countered with this in less than 24 hours. Senator Schumer is a genious!

    October 15, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  263. Joanne Benson

    Yes! And while the politians are playing their games, they need to remember that I am one of millions of registered voters. They may not realize it, but there's an election next year, and two years after that , and two years after that...

    October 15, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  264. Catherine Stover

    YES! Do away with the exemption. Godhelpus, it's about time.

    October 15, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  265. Nick Longmont, CO


    Definitely YES! The reason why anti-trust laws exist in the first place is to prevent greedy companies from controlling a market. And for years we have been watching the health insurance industry sticking it to employees and employers alike. Ending this exemption will create the competetion required to lower premiums. That, and a strong public plan.

    October 15, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  266. Cliff Glass - East Rockaway, NY


    Of course, health insurance companies should be stripped of antitrust protection.
    The health of our citizens is a public good and a right , not a privilege. If utility companies need to justify rate increases, why don't insurance companies, or for that matter, hospitals ?

    October 15, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  267. Sandra in Temecula, CA

    Why can't congress do anything? They claim they can save billions by cutting the fraud out of Medicare, so why aren't they doing it? They don't need a bill for that. Why don't they allow insurance companies to cross state lines? Congress lacks common sense to do anything. This is why we don't want them in our health care, they don't know what they are doing and everything they touch, turns to crap.

    October 15, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  268. Paul F. Caron

    Jack, YES!! I bet many folks did know about this insurance company situation with anti-trust exemption.
    Your program makes my day.

    October 15, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  269. don, Dayton OH

    I think you're mistaken...these representatives we elect for Washington, they don't work for us. They work for lobbyists and special interests to protect corporate profits.
    And in the U.S., profits are much more important than humans, unfortunately. We can beg, we can plead and we can cry and whine but until we can match the money that the corporations throw to our elected representatives, they will never do right by the people and vote to protect our interests, only the corporate interests they serve which line their pockets in the end.
    It's disgusting and sad that we even have to discuss this but until there can be regulations put into place, this very nation is run and ruled by corporations while the 2 parties bicker and fight like little girls.

    As citizens, we will never get a fair shake for what is right...we'll only get what the corporations who run congress deem we deserve: Next to nothing.

    October 15, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  270. Arthur

    Yes! Should have been addressed years ago.

    October 15, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  271. Jizell

    Yes, they shouldn't be exempted. Long overdue I think.

    October 15, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  272. Jim H

    While they're at it, why not repeal the ban on the government negotiataing favorable discount prices on prescripton drugs.

    October 15, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  273. claudia

    Should Congress do away with the antitrust exemption enjoyed by the health insurance companies?

    Yes for God's sake–yes! yes! yes! It's a crime that they were ever awarded an antitrust exemption in the first place.

    October 15, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  274. Jane Weir

    I have worked in the medical field for twenty five years. I have worked in billing, and management. The insurance industry has been robbing the american people blind for at least twenty of those years. Billing forms ripped from operative reports to deny Dr. payment. Denial upon denial for request from Dr's for needed treatment. Costs of having a policy crippling businesses from giving employees insurance and people unable to buy it on the so called free market. The only thing free about health insurance is their lack of giving it and being expert at charging us for not getting it. Somebody has to develop a spine and end this nightmare.

    October 15, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  275. CKT

    Y E S ! ! ! Amazing that conservatives can get whipped into a frenzy about the ills of government but never seem to care how out of whack some industries we absolutely depend on have become. Why isn't there a tea party in front of the insurance companies head quarters??? -Keith in Marietta GA

    October 15, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  276. Bob reno, NV

    As an Insurance broker, this is not
    what our industry needs now
    We need government DEREGULATION,
    and total tax Exemptions to be competative
    in todays marketplace.
    doing away with state and local regulations
    would bring about the best cost savings to
    the Insurance Industry.

    October 15, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  277. Brian

    It's about time. BCBS owns more than 80% of the market here in Alabama. What took so long?

    October 15, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  278. paul tooley

    Besides stripping the insurance industry of exemption to anti-trust laws, Congress should also deregulate the industry!

    October 15, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  279. Glenn H for Hell Yes

    Jack. Great Show!

    Yes, kill the antitrust exemption! And, when Congress votes, exclude any Senator or Representative who has taken Insurance PAC money in excess of $100,000.00. That would be an interesting vote!

    October 15, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  280. Rick M Seaford, DE

    Jack, ....Hell yeah, we should do away with Anti-Trust exemption for these clowns! And while we're at it, let's give Michael Moore some bigger bags to collect what is obviously more and more unwarranted profit for the banks and financial industries (isn't that money ours?!)...they're at it again, Jack! Look away for a second and they continue their greed unabated! What a great country we live in-does the Wild, Wild West come to mind?...hmmmmm!

    October 15, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  281. Shannon Carter

    This little tidbit of info is like manna from Heaven. It's as if we have received divine intervention!! We should ABSOLUTELY repeal the antitrust law for insurance company. We've been held hostage way too long by these greedy jerks. The PriceWaterhouseCoopers report was nothing more than a threat and now we have the ammo to return the favor,except that WE CAN DELIVER!!! Call you Representatives and Senators IMMEDIATELY! Great job as usual, Jack.

    October 15, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  282. Eddy

    Yes, the anti-trust policy being enjoyed by the Insurance company is outdated and a violation of our rights. There needs to be competetion in the health insurance companies just like we have in every industries, but we need more than that, we need the PUBLIC OPTION. If the government can't run the public option effectively, then the insurance companies can rip the benefit. That's why we have FEDEX when USPS wasn't able to deliver express mails!!


    October 15, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  283. Ramzi Mansour

    I think congress should eliminate the antitrust exemption for insurance companies. They have been taking advantage of us for years. It is about time to end this monopoly that is based on the expense of human suffering. Enough is enough.

    October 15, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  284. Ron from Yakima

    No. Let them keep it provided they do not throw a monkey wrench into the current quest for health care reform. Obama is so very smart. He and his staff have a strategy. And there is probably more stuff they will wheel out at the appropriate time, if needed.

    October 15, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  285. Kathy

    Glad to see that the insurance industry is finally under the microscope.
    They have been calling the shots for too long and the doctors and patients have been suffering the consequences.
    Beaufort, SC

    October 15, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  286. Kevin

    Jack, this seems almost a rhetorical question! Big business is big business, and I don't think there's any confusion over if health care is big business or not. I think it's time the government stepped in, in the name of the little guys- you and me.

    October 15, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  287. Dan P.


    As an IT Specialist Im surprised to see that they are allowed to even do this. For years I have seen nothing but constant crackdowns on computer parts manufacturers for price fixing all kinds of things. Now call me crazy, but nobody is going to go bankrupt from a stick of memory. But they sure can from skyrocketing health insurance. Aside from letting insurance companies take over our health care system, this is one law that NEVER should have been side stepped.


    October 15, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  288. Anthony, Phoenix AZ

    Of course Congress should strip these exemptions. As long as the Deocrats grow some backbone against "socialist" regulations. When a little bit of government regulation that fosters competition is debated Republicans charge it is socialist. But when deregulating corporations that grant monpolies is suggested, Republicans hail it is as great "capitalsim." Real competition=lower premiums for us.

    October 15, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  289. David Clark

    YES, Jack... YES!

    However... it won't matter if they don't enforce the laws. Look at what's happened with big businesses over the last 10 years. Isn't "too big to fail" supposed to be avoided by the anti-trust laws? Soooo.... how did so many companies get to that point if the anti-trust laws are enforced?

    October 15, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  290. Joe, Florida

    Yes, get rid of the antitrust exemption! Insurance companies should NOT profit on the health of the citizens of this great country.

    October 15, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  291. Jim A.

    Absolutley yes! The exception is anti-American. It stifles competition and unfairly drives prices up. The insurance companies collude with each other to price fix and conduct virtual monopolies. These practices in most other industries in the US would merit not a bonus but a prison sentence. End the anti-trust exemption NOW!

    October 15, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  292. Jamie Shropshire

    YES! YES! Who knew that they had legislation that actually helped them to abuse us!

    October 15, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  293. Terrence Cain

    Not only yes, but hell yes, Jack! That law should have never been made to begin with. I bet you that if this Anti-Trust Exemption is done away with there will be a huge amount of savings created with the re-peal of this law for the insurance agencies out there who just love to gouge out a few hundred dollars from the innocent civilians. I also agree with you about the dems. Where the hell have they been all these years on this law? My God, it's been around since 1946! If they re-pealed the Anti-Trust Exemption and made Medicare for all available to the public, you'd see the economy grow and jobs start re-hiring again because they could afford healthcare and employees. We'd see a boom in the economy like never before. Down with the Anti-Trust Exemption and private healthcare! And on with Medicare for all!

    Big Spring, Texas

    October 15, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  294. zhadum

    My question is why are we pandering to the insurance comps at all? We should be going to a single payer system. Not these corporate appeasing bills that we currently have. These companies are making billions off of sick and dyeing people, the current system totally is abhorrent.

    October 15, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  295. Jim

    Yes, most definetly, yes.

    October 15, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  296. Adalbert

    Yes, Yes, Ye by all means,it is about time. Also, it is time to eliminate the lobbyists.

    October 15, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  297. Emily Nicholson

    YES!!! The insurance companies have been ripping off their customers AND the doctors that provide care for them for years and making Billions doing it!!
    Can we get some honest politicians that haven't been paid off to do something about this??!!
    By the way, lobbying is illegal in Singapore...keeps the politicians honest! Might be a great policy to adopt in the US!!!

    October 15, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  298. philip Bowie MD

    equal protection under the law, that includes the insurance giants.

    October 15, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  299. Yvonne Battaglia

    Absolutely yes.. do away with the exemption for health insurance companies and question congress why this was not done a decade ago???

    October 15, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  300. Lois Aswell

    Yes, indeed! Why has this exemption not been publicized and discussed more? Talk about stacking the deck...as if the insurance companies need any more advantages in their relentless efforts to make more profits off the backs of consumers. Thanks Jack.

    October 15, 2009 at 6:23 pm |