Health care reform legislation unveiled by the Senate Democratic leadership last week includes a "public plan" that states could reject, but raises some concerns about preserving the ability of insurance agents to sell all types of coverage offered under the new system.

At the same time, however, it does not contain any language giving the Federal Trade Commission authority to oversee or even write reports about the insurance industry, either limited to the health care industry or to all insurers. There is also no language limiting the antitrust exemption now accorded to health and medical malpractice carriers under the McCarran-Ferguson Act.

Legislation passed earlier this month by the House contains both provisions.

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