Opponents of a Nov. 4 ballot initiative that would allow the state’s elected insurance commissioner to regulate health insurance rates have launched their first TV ad, claiming that the proposal would disrupt the health exchange and give too much power to a single politician.
Following is text of the ad and analysis by Christopher Cadelago of The Bee Capitol Bureau.
Text: Dr. Marshall Morgan, past president of the Los Angeles County Medical Association:
“We all want to control health care costs, and this year we have a clear choice. We can keep the new independent commission established last year to negotiate rates and benefits for consumers and reject plans that are too expensive.
Or, we have Prop. 45 that will give one politician the power to override the commission – and at the same time, take millions in campaign contributions from special interests. The choice is clear. Keep the independent commission, and vote no on 45.”
Analysis: The commission referred to in the ad is Covered California, the state health care exchange, whose five-member board of directors is appointed by the Democratic governor and Democrat-controlled Legislature.
While the commercial frames the choice as between retaining the commission and voting for the initiative, both the exchange and the new rate-regulation system would coexist if voters approve Proposition 45.
Covered California’s board does have the power to negotiate with the health insurers over rates and benefits, but because the talks are kept private it’s unclear after two years to what degree members have exerted that privilege.
The initiative would allow the state insurance commissioner to reject rates negotiated by the board – just as a similar, voter-approved scheme already allows for car and homeowner insurance rates.