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SANTA MONICA, CA — The largest health insurance companies in California have contributed $37 million to defeat Proposition 45, but are hiding from voters in deceptive new campaign advertising that violates disclosure laws and should be pulled from the radio, said Consumer Watchdog.

Campaign disclosure law requires initiative committees to disclose the economic interests of their largest donors. The No on 45 committee never identifies “health insurance companies” – the source of the $37.5 million to the campaign, said Consumer Watchdog in a complaint filed with the Fair Political Practices Commission. Radio stations are also being asked to reject the advertisement, and television stations are being alerted to the illegal disclosure, which is likely on ads scheduled to run next week.

View the complaint: www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/fppc-cmplt-signed09-10-14.pdf

“Health insurance companies know that they will not be able to stop Prop 45’s rate relief if the public knows it's the companies funding the advertisements so they are trying every trick in the book to deceive voters, including an illegal one,” said Proposition 45 proponent and Consumer Watchdog president Jamie Court.

The content of the radio ads is also misleading, said Consumer Watchdog, confusing the public about having to make a false choice between the state’s bulk purchasing pool for some health insurance consumers and rate regulation for 6 million individuals and small businesses. Prop 45 retains both.

Rick Claussen, whose infamous industry-funded “Harry and Louise” ad helped torpedo federal health reform during the Clinton era, created this radio advertising for health insurance companies.

The No on 45 campaign committee is called: “No On 45-Californians Against Higher Health Care Costs. Major Funding by Kaiser Foundation Health Plan Inc., Wellpoint Inc., and Blue Shield of California with a Coalition of Doctors, Nurses, Hospitals, Health Plans and California Employers.”

Under state law, the economic interests of the committee’s major donors must be described in descending order.  The name violates the law by failing to name “health insurance companies” first, as the campaign’s only donor. Some interests that are named, such as nurses, have not given a dime to the campaign. In fact, the California Nurses Association has endorsed Proposition 45.

Proposition 45 would require health insurance companies to publicly justify their rates and allow the state insurance commissioner to reject rate hikes deemed excessive. The same rules for auto insurance in California have saved drivers $102 billion since 1988. At least 35 other states already regulate health insurance.

Read more about the deceptive ad here:
http://www.yeson45.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-warns-public-insurance-industry’s-deceptive-no-prop-45-radio-advertisi

More on Proposition 45 at: www.Yeson45.org  

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Paid for by Consumer Watchdog Campaign – Yes on 45, a coalition of consumer advocates, attorneys, policyholders, and nurses. 777 S. Figueroa St., Ste. 4050, Los Angeles, CA  90017.  Major Funding by Consumer Watchdog Campaign and Thomas Steyer.