Republicans claim to support free enterprise, competition in the marketplace. In reality, Republicans are the enemies of free enterprise with their steadfast support of monopolistic practices that stifle competition.
The only reason health insurance companies have sustained double-digit annual rate increases for so many years, as well as the cruel treatment of its subscribers, is the absence of competition. In most places in this country there is no viable alternative. The only way they could make the threat to increase rates in response to government action is if there are tacit, or formal, agreements between the companies to fix prices.
The reason the insurance companies are so terrified of the "public option" is that it offers real competition, health insurance that is not part of their cartel. Key to maintaining their monopolies is the anti-trust exemption insurance companies have. Breaking the insurance cartel must be a vital part of health care reform.