Editorial: Prop. 45: Health Insurance

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Prop. 45: Health Insurance. Allows state’s insurance commissioner to reject health insurance price changes.
Requires insurance commissioner’s approval before health insurer can change its rates or anything else affecting the charges associated with health insurance. Provides for public notice, disclosure, and hearing, and subsequent judicial review. Exempts employer large group health plans.

For a majority of California residents their health care is either through a large-group employee plan or a government program. For about 16% of the State’s population they are either covered as an individual or small-group (50 or fewer employees) and it is this group, those 16%, which Prop. 45 affects.

At present there is oversight for this 16% of the insurance industry but there is no authority in the government oversight. Insurance companies can raise their rates at will and have done so over the years. Over the past ten years rates have gone up 185%.

Prop. 45 would give the Insurance Commissioner the authority to regulate insurance premiums with the insurance companies opening their books and justifying rate increases.

Naturally insurance companies hate more requirements and regulations. They want to keep their ability to raise rates to benefit their stockholders without insurance commissioner approval. Because of this the insurance industry has spent roughly $37 million dollars to convince the voters to vote against this proposition.

We have all seen what happened when gas and electricity was deregulated with no price control. Rates went through the roof.

Government has a role in price regulation when it comes to basic necessities. Without regulation insurance companies will continue the practice of raising rates to meet profit projections without concern for the consumer.

We urge a YES Vote on Prop. 45.

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