U.S. Senator Steve Daines (R-Mont) recently introduced S. 3782, the “Competitive Health Insurance Reform Act.” The American Dental Association (ADA) released a statement welcoming the legislation as they argue it would help ensure more competition in the health insurance marketplace by reestablishing federal antitrust enforcement over the health insurance industry.

“If health insurance companies had to observe the antitrust laws when setting rates and designing coverage, they would have to compete more aggressively with each other for both individual customers and purchasers of large group policies,” said Jeffrey M. Cole, DDS, ADA president. “Currently, when health insurers overcharge or take advantage of consumers, the consumers’ only course of action is to file a complaint with their state’s insurance commissioner, who often have very limited resources and rarely act.”

This bill is narrowly drawn to apply only to the business of health insurance, including dental insurance.  The House passed its version of the “Competitive Health Insurance Reform Act” (H.R. 372), by a vote of 416-7, illustrating the bipartisan support for this policy.

This legislation, if enacted, will amend a section of the McCarran-Ferguson Act of 1945, which exempted the insurance industry from important provisions of the Sherman Act and the Clayton Act—acts that have the purpose of ensuring fair competition. If passed, this legislation will help level the playing field between health insurers, providers, and consumers, and may help to make health insurance more affordable for all Americans.