Honorable Steve Kagen, M.D.

Wisconsin's former 8th District Representative

January 4, 2007 to December 22, 2010

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Kagen Puts Patients First: Votes to End Price Gouging by Wall Street

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 24, 2010

   

 

KAGEN  PUTS  PATIENTS  FIRST: VOTES  TO  END  PRICE  GOUGING  BY  WALL  STREET

Health Insurance Industry Fair Competition Act levels the playing field   

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Steve Kagen, M.D. voted to bring an end to the special protections and antitrust exemptions for Wall Street run health insurance corporations.  The measure would prevent insurers from being able to manipulate prices for health insurance, helping in particular to prevent the ongoing price gouging of small business owners and their employees.

“I am sending a message to Wall Street: People are more important than profits,” said Dr. Kagen. “No longer will Wall Street run health corporations be allowed to gouge small business owners by manipulating insurance prices – they will now have to compete against one another for our hard earned dollars.

“This bold action, against the special interests on Wall Street, will begin to restore the free enterprise system in health care,” Dr. Kagen continued. “We want insurers to compete on a level playing field, and when they do, we will all be able to receive the highest quality care at the lowest possible price.”

Under the “Health Insurance Industry Fair Competition Act,” health insurers will no longer be protected from liability for price fixing, dividing up market territories, or bid rigging.  During the last 14 years, there have been 400 mergers among health care insurers so that 95% of health insurance markets are “highly concentrated,” which means consumers have little or no choices between insurers.  This non-competitive market has played a significant role in the sky-high prices we pay for health insurance premiums, which have doubled in the last decade.

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