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Anti-trust exemption demonstrates the "free-market" fallacy

October 16, 2009 - Mike Maneval
On Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi lent her weight to an idea surfacing in the Senate's Democratic Caucus, revoking an exemption for the health care insurance industry from anti-trust law.

Pelosi said there is "tremendous interest" in the idea in the House, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had also endorsed the proposal, saying he's considering folding it into the Senate's health care package. The position was characterized by Huffington Post's Ryan Grim as prompted by threats from health insurers that they will retaliate against reform by raising premiums.

But the idea shouldn't require hardball tactics on the part of industry executives to garner a hearing — the persistent rhetoric that America needs to retain "free-market" principles in an economic sector that hasn't been a free market for decades should've invited this simple observation: A free market requires competing providers. As long as the anti-trust exemption exists — as it has since 1945 — the consumers' freedoms, frankly, don't exist and the health care market, hence, isn't free.


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