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House Meets At: First Vote Predicted: Last Vote Predicted:

10:00 a.m.: Morning Hour
12:00 p.m.: Legislative Business

Fifteen “One Minutes”
1:00 – 2:00 p.m. 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. 

H.Res. 209 – Rule providing for consideration of H.R. 372 – Competitive Health Insurance Reform Act of 2017 (Rep. Gosar – Judiciary) (One hour of debate). The Rules Committee has recommended a closed Rule that provides for one hour of general debate equally divided and controlled by the Chair and Ranking Member of the Committee on Judiciary.  The Rule allows one motion to recommit, with or without instructions, and waives all points of order against the legislation.  Members are urged to VOTE NO.

H.Res. 210 – Rule providing for consideration of H.R. 1101Small Business Health Fairness Act of 2017 (Rep. Sam Johnson – Education and the Workforce) (One hour of debate). The Rules Committee has recommended a structured Rule that provides for one hour of general debate equally divided and controlled by the Chair and Ranking Member of the Committee on Education and the Workforce.  The Rule provides for consideration of 1 amendment, debatable for 10 minutes, equally controlled by the proponent and opponent of the amendment. The Rule allows one motion to recommit, with or without instructions, and waives all points of order against the legislation. Members are urged to VOTE NO.

Begin Consideration of H.R. 372 – Competitive Health Insurance Reform Act of 2017 (Rep. Gosar – Judiciary).  This bill would subject the health insurance industry to federal antitrust laws by eliminating the exemption as it applies to health insurance companies regulated at the state level.  Removing this exemption, which is part of the McCarran-Ferguson Act, would subject the insurance industry to the same antitrust laws that other industries face. 

The original intent of the 1945 McCarran-Ferguson Act was to encourage small insurance companies and promote insurance market competition by allowing insurance companies to share data so they could set competitively priced premiums that accurately reflected the specific characteristics of the markets in which they operated or sought to operate.  At the time McCarran-Ferguson was enacted, there was significant legal uncertainty as to whether the sharing of such information restrained market competition and violated antitrust laws.  House Democrats have long supported a full repeal of McCarran-Ferguson’s antitrust exemption for all insurers, not just the health insurance industry.  In February of 2010 the House passed H.R. 4626, sponsored by Rep. Tom Perriello (D-VA), which is similar to H.R. 372, by a vote of 406 to 19.  That vote can be found here.

House Republicans are trying to sell H.R. 372 as part of their ACA repeal plan, but they are clearly grasping at straws.  Since Democrats have long advocated for the repeal of the antiquated McCarran-Ferguson Act, this bill will likely receive bipartisan support.  But Democrats are under no illusions that passage of this bill will significantly improve health insurance affordability or coverage, create major new competition in the markets, or encourage health insurers to sell insurance across state lines.  All it will do is apply the same common sense federal antitrust laws that have long applied to virtually every other U.S. industry to the health insurance industry. And this bill will do nothing to help the millions of Americans who will lose coverage or the millions more who will see their premiums and out-of-pocket costs increase under the Republican bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act, the American Health Care Act.  H.R. 372 and the repeal of the ACA should be seen as two separate issues.

**Members are advised that the House is only expected to complete debate on H.R. 372 today.  Votes on final passage will occur tomorrow.  

Bill Text for H.R. 372:
PDF Version

Background for H.R. 372:
House Report (HTML Version)
House Report (PDF Version)

Postponed Suspensions (2 bills)

  1. H.R. 1353 – Transparency in Technological Acquisitions Act of 2017 (Rep. Rice (NY) – Homeland Security)
  2. H.R. 1297 – Quadrennial Homeland Security Review Technical Corrections Act of 2017 (Rep. Watson Coleman – Homeland Security)

TOMORROW’S OUTLOOK
The GOP Leadership has announced the following schedule for Wednesday, March 22: The House will meet at 12:00 p.m. for legislative business.  The House is expected to complete consideration of H.R. 372 – Competitive Health Insurance Reform Act of 2017 (Rep. Gosar – Judiciary).  The House is also expected to consider H.R. 1101 – Small Business Health Fairness Act of 2017 (Rep. Sam Johnson – Education and the Workforce).  Lastly, the House is expected to consider bills listed for consideration under suspension of the Rules. 

The Daily Quote

“Conservative House Republicans said Monday night that they have enough votes to block the GOP’s legislation to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, as House leaders proposed changes to the bill in a late effort to draw support. Rep. Mark Meadows (R., N.C.), chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, a group of conservative lawmakers, said more than 21 members opposed the bill, enough to block passage should House leaders hold the vote as expected on Thursday and all Democrats hold firm in opposing the legislation.”

    -    Wall Street Journal, 3/21/2017