Saturday, October 1, 2011

Conyers, Paul Introduce Quality Health Care Coalition Act

Conyers, Paul Introduce Quality Health Care Coalition Act

Leveling the Playing Field Between Insurance Companies and Health Care Providers

(Washington)—Today, House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) and Congressman Ron Paul (R-Texas) introduced the “Quality Health Care Coalition Act of 2011,” H.R. 1409, in an effort to improve the quality of patient care by leveling the playing field between health care professionals and insurance companies in the health care industry. 

“Currently, the insurance industry, including health care insurance providers, is immune from federal antitrust laws under the McCarran-Ferguson Act,” said Conyers. “As a result, the playing field is woefully unbalanced. I am pleased to introduce H.R. 1409 the Quality Health Care Coalition Act of 2011 today to strengthen patient safety and quality of care by clarifying the application of the antitrust laws to negotiations between groups of health care professionals and health plans and health care insurance issuers. I am gratified to be joined by my good friend Rep. Paul in this effort.” 

“By restoring the freedom of medical professionals to voluntarily come together to negotiate as a group with HMOs and insurance companies, this bill removes a government-imposed barrier to a true free market in health care,” said Paul. “ I thank Mr. Conyers’ for introducing this bill, and I hope all members of Congress will support the Quality Health Care Coalition Act” and restore freedom of contract and association to America's health care professionals.”

The bipartisan Quality Health Care Coalition Act of 2011 will allow health care providers the ability to collectively bargain contractual terms with insurers, including provisions that affect the quality of patient care. Last Congress, the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the disparate treatment of physicians and health insurers by the antitrust enforcement agencies. In 2000, the House passed similar legislation, H.R. 1304, the Quality Healthcare Coalition Act of 1999) offered by Rep. Tom Campbell (R-CA) and Rep. Conyers. The bill passed the House by a vote of 276-136, but was not taken up the Senate. Similar legislation was introduced in the 107th (H.R. 3897) and 108th (H.R. 1120) Congresses.

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