WASHINGTON, D.C.— Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) released the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 372 – Competitive Health Insurance Reform Act of 2017 with 416 votes, and H.R. 1101 – Small Business Health Fairness Act, the first two pieces of legislation in the third prong of the House’s health care reform plan.

“Today’s passage of these two bills demonstrates beyond a doubt the House is already moving forward on the third prong of our plan to deliver on our promise of providing real health reform to the American people.

“For too long, Obamacare has crippled small businesses with its costly mandates, limited choices, and overwhelming red-tape. Under current law, large corporations and labor organizations are exempt from many of these rules and regulations on health insurance and can negotiate better health plans, while small businesses do not enjoy the same rights. Under our Small Business Health Fairness Act, we level the playing field so small businesses can join together in association health plans and have greater bargaining power to negotiate better and lower cost plans for their employees, allowing for greater access to affordable coverage for working families.

“We also took huge steps towards bringing competition and fairness back to the health care marketplace through the Competitive Health Insurance Reform Act of 2017 to amend the McCarran-Ferguson Act to no longer allow health insurers from being exempted from federal antitrust laws. For the first time in 70 years, our bill will allow uniform antitrust laws to be applied to health insurers across the marketplace, reversing the trend of consolidation and rising prices to bring back a consumer-driven marketplace that benefits puts patients’ interests first.

“These bills take huge steps in lowering costs and barriers to access to health care for American families, and I encourage the Senate to act quickly to send them to President Trump’s desk so they can be signed into law.”