by Chris Huckins Google+ Email 

 

Articles tagged with: prop 45 california

07 November 2014

Proposition 45 Defeated, But at Least There's a New Legend of Zelda

Posted in Latest News

Proposition 45 Defeated, But at Least There's a New Legend of Zelda

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.

16 June 2014

Proposition 45 Lets California Veto Unfair Health Insurance Rate Hikes

Posted in Individual Health Insurance

Proposition 45 Lets California Veto Unfair Health Insurance Rate Hikes

A federal study showed Californians spent less on auto insurance in 2010 than they did in 1989. That's compared to the rest of the United States, which actually spent 43% more in 2010 than the Golden State. Why hasn't health insurance in California decreased the same way?

Anthem Blue Cross president Mark Morgan revealed at a Los Angeles town hall that premiums would rise up to 10% in 2015. At least that's a smaller hike than 2012's, when Anthem proposed increasing rates by 20% for individuals with health insurance in California.

But nobody should just take a rate increase like an overdue colonoscopy. California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, who's up for reelection this fall, reminded voters that Proposition 45, also on November's ballot, would give the California Department of Insurance vetoing power to put a plug in unjust rate hikes. 

While 35 states can block unjust health insurance rate hikes, California can only dream of it. 70% of Californians already support Proposition 45.

In 2013 the public advocacy group Consumer Watchdog partnered with the California Department of Insurance and Commissioner Jones to review health insurance rate hikes.

Consumer Watchdog's founder, Harvey Rosenfield introduced Proposition 103 to California in 1988, which was the successful auto insurance equivalent to 2014's health Proposition 45. Its passage led to Californians spending less on auto insurance today than in the 80s.

Since 1988 Proposition 103 has required insurance companies to publicly justify rate hikes for auto and home insurance, saving California $102 billion. Health insurance may join the club if Prop 45 in California passes. 

Before announcing rates next year would still go up, in April Anthem proposed raising health insurance premiums by 25%, albeit for over 300,000 Californians. That wasn't all they were up to. 

Earlier this year Anthem and its partner company, Wellpoint, spent $12.9 million on the lobbyist group, Californians Against Higher Health Care Costs, to try and block Commissioner Jones' Proposition 45 on Primary Day. That's on top of Kaiser Permanente's and Blue Shield's $23.5 million contribution. The lobbyist group claimed more regulations would require more taxpayer money and raise insurance prices. 

Which do you think will prevent continuous rate hikes: the Insurance Commissioner regulating rate hikes or the insurance companies blocking rate hike regulation?