This was a vote on an amendment to legislation repealing the health insurance industry's exemption from antitrust regulations.
A motion to recommit with instructions is the minority's last chance to make substantive changes to a bill before a final up-or-down vote on the measure. If successful, the motion sends the legislation back to committee with instructions to amend the legislation as specified.
The amendment, offered by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) would allow for an antitrust exemption for exchanging and pooling of certain insurance information. Republicans contended this was necessary to ensure that smaller insurers can compete in the health insurance market. Rep. Dan Lungren (R-CA) said the amendment "simply allows historical data to be utilized by insurance companies large and small. This is something that is requested by the small insurance companies, this is something supported by the American Bar Association. Their representative who testified before our subcommittee on behalf of or in support of the underlying legislation supported this amendment so that in fact small insurers would not be disadvantaged."
Democrats contended the amendment amounted to a loophole in antitrust regulation. Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA) argued: " I know this business. I was the Insurance Commissioner in California for 8 years. And I know that if an insurance company is able to collude in collecting, compiling, classifying, or disseminating historic data and determining a loss development factor, and finally, using actuarial services, they have the power to collude. This is an incredible loophole. It should never be allowed. And the final point having to do with the insurance commissioners collecting data, nowhere in any antitrust laws are States precluded from any collection of data.."
The House rejected the motion to recommit by a vote of 170-249. 165 Republicans and 5 Democrats voted "yea." 246 Democrats and 3 Republicans voted "nay." As a result, the House rejected an amendment allowing for an antitrust exemption for exchanging and pooling of certain insurance information, and proceeded to a vote on final passage of legislation to repeal the health insurance industry's exemption from antitrust regulations.