07 November 2014
It’s been 48 hours since 2014’s midterm election results. If you restarted your playthrough of Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask on Election Night like me, you know Link has 24 hours left to save Termina but it’s too late for Democrats and cheap health insurance rates.
While everyone clamored this week over conservatives taking over, Nintendo unveiled a trailer for Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D, which will slowly take over fanboys’ minds until its release in 2015. What else may come in 2015? If companies take advantage of Proposition 45’s defeat on Election Night, then we’ll be seeing a whole lot of insurance rate hikes. At least they’ll be in 3D.
The death knell heard from Clock Town, the official Democrat headquarters of all 2014 campaigns, signaled the demise of Senators, Governors, and the once-popular Proposition 45. In June, 69% of Californians supported Prop 45, which if passed, would have allowed the Insurance Commissioner in California to veto unjust rate increases for health insurance like commissioners already do in 35 other states and like California does for auto and home insurance. As predicted in an earlier blog, it was only a matter of time and Giant Wallets of money to change voters’ opinions.
The last opinion polls in October showed the grim reality: 43% opposed Prop 45 versus 38% in support. Proposition 45 backers like Consumer Watchdog spent $6.2 million to retain voters but it was green rupees compared to the $52 million war chest used by health insurance companies like Kaiser Permanente, Wellpoint, and Health Net to block health insurance regulation.
Chart by Ballotopedia
Besides way too much money, what helped opponents defeat Prop 45 was consistent negative messaging. Without any clue how they got my address, even I received mailers intended to lure voters from the Light Realm into the Dark.
The most common theme used to bash 45 was the demonization of the Insurance Commissioner, who might one day become “One Sacramento politician with too much power” as mailers with a Majora's Mask watermark repeated.
This message led voters to believe the commissioner would interfere with rate negotiations between Covered California and insurance companies, which could lead to higher costs and more bureaucracy and litigation using taxpayer rupees. In reality, Proposition 45 empowered the Commissioner to veto rates only if insurance companies proposed unjust ones in the first place.
One theory suggests Prop 45 was like a lone Skull Kid doomed to lose a power struggle of lunar proportions against insurance giants: Anthem, HealthNet, and Kaiser because voters just don't care who controls insurance costs as long as they're low. Since voters experienced relatively low rates under Covered California, at least for the first two years of Obamacare's open enrollment, they voted for the status quo and against Prop 45.
Insurance prices could stay low without Proposition 45's help. If not, we'll have to wait for the dawn of a new proposition. It's not like we can warp back using the Song of Time and change our vote. At least, not until the release of Majora's Mask.