Congress to Health-Insurance Lobby: Mess With Us? Be Prepared For Us To Mess With You.


You wouldn't like Chuck Schumer when he's angry.

Earlier this week, the health-insurance lobby released a report making the case that four provisions in the health-care reform bill would cause premiums to rise much faster than they would otherwise. Democrats in Congress didn't take kindly to the last-minute attack, and now at least one has apparently decided it's time to strike back:

The long-simmering tension between insurers and congressional Democrats is erupting into open warfare, with lawmakers stepping up their push to revoke a key federal protection for the insurance industry.

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Wednesday will call for an amendment to the health care reform bill that would remove the long-standing antitrust exemption for insurers, echoing a push by other Democrats to crack down on the industry.

The article says that Schumer's move is "more political than practical," which probably translates into "not likely to pass." And to some extent, the insurers brought this on themselves. They know how the Washington game is played (or should, anyway). But it's still suggestive about the way legislators respond to industries that attempt to disrupt their grand plans—in this case, with a show of force and an implicit threat.