COLLECTIVE BARGAINING: Committee Will Not Mark Up Bill
Although it has been ready for markup for the past two weeks, the House Judiciary Committee has pulled from the agenda the Quality Care Coalition Act, HR 1304, which would grant physicians partial exemption from antitrust laws and allow them to bargain collectively with managed care plans and hospitals. One of the "most controversial health measures" pending in Congress, the bill pits the AMA against the insurance industry, which is backed by the Clinton administration in its opposition to the bill. Judiciary Chair Henry Hyde (R-IL) said that although the bill had been pulled at the request of House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL), Hyde would like to address the issue next year (CongressDaily/A.M., 10/27). Last week the Antitrust Coalition of Consumer Choice in Health Care released a letter the American Antitrust Institute sent to Hyde expressing its opposition to the bill. The organization called the bill a "meat-cleaver solution that would do far more harm than good," including that "consumers would bear the brunt of [its] unfettered collusion and its effects." The letter also stated that the bill would make consumers "subject to cartel pricing, including those for whom any quality-related benefits of the bill would be small or non-existent" (ACCCHC release, 10/19).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.