Congressman John Garamendi

Representing the 3rd District of California
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Former Insurance Commissioner Rep. Garamendi Sides with Consumers in Vote to End Health Insurance Industry Collusion

February 24, 2010
Press Release

Garamendi’s Leadership Helps Stop Loophole that Would Lead to Price Fixing

WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman John Garamendi (D-Walnut Creek, CA), California’s first elected State Insurance Commissioner, today was proud to vote for a bill that he helped author that would end the health insurance industry’s anti-trust exemption. H.R. 4626, the Health Insurance Industry Fair Competition Act, introduced by Representatives Tom Perriello (VA) and Betsy Markey (CO), passed on a 406-19 vote. On the floor, Speaker Nancy Pelosi praised Congressman Garamendi for his work in helping to author and pass the bill. 

Video from the floor yesterday on H.R. 4626 is below.

"With this bill, we force America’s health insurance industry into the same market that we want all American industry to be in: the free market competitive system. This is simple. Insurance companies should not be able to monopolize the health insurance marketplace," Congressman Garamendi said. "For 65 years, the insurance industry has used the anti-trust exemption to collude against consumers, fixing prices and raising rates well above inflation. Enough is enough."

Garamendi also defended consumers from health insurance industry price fixing by leading the defeat of a floor procedure that would have provided the health insurance industry with loopholes from federal anti-trust protections.

"The health insurance companies want loopholes; I want an end to collusion," Congressman Garamendi said. "I regulated the insurance industry in California, so I speak from experience that when you give insurance companies an inch, they’ll take a mile. I was proud to play my part to defeat an effort to create loopholes that would have led to price fixing."

The Health Insurance Industry Fair Competition Act, restores competition and transparency to the health insurance market. The bill removes the health insurance industry’s blanket antitrust exemption. This will give antitrust enforcers the authority to investigate any evidence of collusion among health insurance companies – a move that puts an end to the 65-year-old prohibition on the federal government’s ability to investigate and hold accountable bad actors in the health insurance industry.

Video:

Playlist of All Three Videos
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hctgiOU6GYI&feature=PlayList&p=939ABCA8FAE98DC1&index=0&playnext=1 

Garamendi Highlights the Problems of Collusion
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hctgiOU6GYI

Garamendi Exposes Past Acts of Collusion, Wall Street Corruption
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YFDWM1K3CTs

Garamendi Introduces Local Victims of Insurance Industry Abuse
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I-uzJptGYlY