Insurance Commissioner Left Without Bully Pulpit on Health Insurance


The defeat of Proposition 45 was not unexpected given the intense and expensive campaign to defeat it waged by the health insurance industry.

Prop. 45 opponents raised more than $57 million to ensure the status quo and to keep California from doing what 35 other states have done, give the state’s elected insurance commission the power to reject premium hikes it finds to be excessive.

The advertising for the anti Prop 45 campaign was slick. It convinced voters that having an insurance commissioner with legal authority to regulate insurance rates in the same way it does for both auto and property insurance, would somehow interfere with the ability of Covered California to negotiate insurance rates, and would deny health procedures to those who need them. Both of those assertions are untrue.

What the proposition would have done was to regulate rates for small businesses and single insurance ratepayers not in the Exchange.

In fact, in our opinion the proposition would have strengthened Covered California’s ability to negotiate better rates for those with non-subsidized insurance plans since the commission would have already theoretically negotiated better rates for providers under its authority.

One only has to look at the tremendous savings the state’s insurance commissioner has achieved for California drivers, who now pay some of the nation’s lowest rates for auto insurance.

It’s too bad for consumers that Prop. 45 failed. We can only hope that publicity generated by Prop 45 will give the insurance commissioner the incentive to publicly oppose needlessly high rates, even without veto power.

This page has endorsed previous efforts by some in the Legislature, and Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones to give regulatory oversight authority to the insurance commissioner, so we are disappointed that Prop. 45 was handily defeated by the deep pocket interests of the insurance industry.


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