An obscure provision being debated today in the US Senate could have a major effect on Oregon medical malpractice. If approved, it could become easier for Portland medical malpractice attorneys to help clients win the compensation they deserve.
The proposal, championed by Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont, would repeal the WWII era McCarran-Ferguson Act, which exempts both health insurers and medical malpractice insurers from antitrust law. Though the proposal has received little publicity, it recently got a boost when ten state attorneys general, including Oregon’s John Kroger, wrote Leahy (who chairs the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee) urging approval of the repeal. When debate on the health care bill began in the Senate Saturday morning Leahy was among the first speakers and devoted his remarks to the proposal.
According to Leahy, and the attorneys general, repeal of the exemption would allow the government to crack down on “flagrant anti-trust violations, including price-fixing, bid rigging and market allocations.” The attorneys general’s letter called for repeal of the exemption to make “antitrust enforcement the same here as for virtually all other industries, enhancing competition to the benefit of consumers.”
By introducing competition into the Oregon medical malpractice market the measure would also make it easier for consumers to sue the insurance companies. A practical consequence of the antitrust exemption is that Oregon medical malpractice and other insurance companies are freed from competitive pressure, making it harder for injured consumers, assisted by an Oregon medical malpractice lawyer, to take them on in court.
Oregon Attorney General’s Website