Should Congress Repeal the McCarran-Ferguson Act?

Josh Wright —  22 October 2010

While I’m focused on health care and antitrust, the question above is the subject of a conference at the Harvard Law School Petrie‐Flom Center which looks like it has a great lineup.  The conference is November 12th.  Here is the conference description (HT: Larry Solum).

Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology and Bioethics at Harvard Law School will be hosting a one-day meeting on Friday, November 12, 2010 on the subject of whether Congress should repeal the McCarran-Ferguson Act. There are a limited number of spaces available for specialists in the field who would like to attend. Requests for attendance will be accepted on the basis of availability. If you would like to attend or have any questions, please email petrie-flom@law.harvard.edu Please note that unfortunately, funding for travel to Cambridge is not available and must be provided by attendee’s home institution.

Conference Description
In 1944, the U.S. Supreme Court, in United States v. South-Eastern Underwriters Association, held that the Commerce Clause authorized the federal government to regulate insurance companies. The next year, in direct response, Congress passed the McCarran-Ferguson Act, effectively shielding the business of insurance from federal antitrust regulation, except the regulation of boycott, coercion and intimidation, so long as state law regulates anticompetitive conduct. Shortly thereafter, a debate arose as to whether the federal antitrust law exemption should be repealed. With the recent flurry of federal reform of health care insurance markets, the current debate has centered on whether Congress should repeal the McCarran-Ferguson Act’s antitrust exemption for health care insurers. The one-day conference will bring together regulators, industry actors and academics working in the fields of business, law and economics to discuss the pros and cons of repealing the McCarran-Ferguson Act’s federal antitrust exemption for health care insurers. For information on presenters and paper topics see here>> http://www.law.harvard.edu/programs/petrie-flom/events/conferences/insurance.pdf

Here is the agenda.