Capitol Alert

Ad Watch: Rate-regulation opponents parrot misleading claims

The coalition trying to stop the rate-regulation initiative on the Nov. 4 ballot has gone up with another TV ad, this one focusing on small-business owners. Proposition 45 would require the state’s elected insurance commissioner to sign off on health insurance rate changes.

Below is text of the ad and an analysis from Christopher Cadelago of The Bee Capitol Bureau.

Text of ad’s dialogue:

George: Controlling health costs is important for our business.

Ana: That’s why we got coverage through the new independent commission. It’s good coverage and saved us money.

George: But along comes Prop. 45, giving one Sacramento politician the power to override the commission. Forty-five lets the politician take campaign money from special interests, then do their bidding, instead of consumers’.

Ana: That’s why small-business and health care organizations across California oppose 45.

George: It’s just too much power for one politician.

Ana: We’re voting no on 45.

Onscreen text: The Independent Commission is: Controlling Costs, Negotiates Affordable Coverage, Rejects Expensive Plans.

Prop 45 Lets One Politician Override The Commission

Prop 45: Helps Special Interests, Hurts Consumers

Prop 45 Is Opposed By: L.A. Chamber of Commerce, Bay Area Council, California Medical Association, American Nurses Association of CA

Analysis: The commission, which goes unnamed in the ad, is the board of directors of Covered California, the state’s health insurance exchange. That’s the statewide agency charged with carrying out the federal Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare.

The commission has five unelected volunteer members who are appointed by the state’s Democratic governor and Democratic-controlled Legislature. While the ad notes that the state’s elected insurance commissioner can take contributions from anyone, voters can also choose whether to re-elect him.

While it’s true the commission can negotiate rates and benefits with health insurers, the process is done behind closed doors. Overall, the commission’s goal is to enroll as many people as it can in health insurance, balancing rates with benefits.

Under the initiative, the commissioner would sign off on any change to a rate for individual and small group insurance covering about 6 million Californians. Only about 1.2 million of those have policies through the exchange.

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