HuffPost Reporter Ryan Grim On Move To End Anti-Trust Exemption For Insurance Companies (VIDEO)

03/18/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Senate leaders plan to announce Wednesday that they will move to strip the insurance industry of the anti-trust exemption it has enjoyed for more than a century. We've been following the Democratic charge against the industry the last few weeks. On Tuesday on Democracy Now!, HuffPost reporter Ryan Grim talked about the fight over the anti-trust exemption and why Democrats have chosen now to wage the battle.

Ryan Grim: The Department of Justice estimates that, I think, in 94 percent of the country, there is a--what they call a highly concentrated market, which means that it's in danger of becoming a monopoly or it has already tipped over into a monopoly, and that allows insurers to collude legally with hospitals and with doctors and other providers to set prices. They set high prices that they pay to the hospitals, then they can raise premiums. And without any competition, there's nothing that anybody can do about it, and it's perfectly legal.

SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: And why now is the support growing on Capitol Hill to repeal the law?

RYAN GRIM: It's payback, pure and simple. There's been a kind of truce that the Democrats have had with the insurance industry: you know, you guys don't come out here with your Harry and Louise ads and just burn the town down, and we'll give you, you know, 47 million new customers. But when the insurance industry, about two weeks ago, came out with a report that was very critical of reform, it was seen by the Obama administration and Democrats on the Hill as a declaration of war, so Democrats came back with what is their biggest weapon, probably, to shoot back at the insurance industry.