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Democrats to introduce anti-trust legislation aimed at health insurance companies

Congressman Xavier Becerra
Congressman Xavier Becerra
Kitty Felde/KPCC

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Comprehensive health care reform legislation has stalled in Congress. The House and Senate each passed versions, but they haven’t been able to reconcile the two bills. Now that Massachusetts Republican Scott Brown has been sworn in, Senate Democrats no longer have a fillibuster-proof majority.

Now it appears House Democrats will tackle health care reform in bits. This week, they are expected to introduce a measure aimed at the anti-trust exemption for health insurance companies.

In the debate over health care reform, Democrats have cast insurance companies as the bad guys. This week, House Democrats will introduce a measure that would strip anti-trust protection from health insurance companies.

L.A. Congressman Xavier Becerra, vice chair of the House Democratic Caucus, says there’s bipartisan support for removing barriers that “allowed health insurance companies to operate as monopolies.”

But he concedes that it’s not the comprehensive reform many voters want. "Anything that gives an average American a fighting chance against an insurance company when it comes to getting the health care he or she has paid for, I think the American public will appreciate," he says. "but certainly they’ll want more than just that."

Anthem Blue Cross notified Californians with individual health insurance policies that premiums would jump by as much as 39 percent next month. State insurance officials say they’ll investigate whether the rate hike violates the law.