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Anyone who has read these pages at all over the past 15 years, since the North County Times was founded out of the merger of the Blade-Citizen and Times Advocate, knows well that we pretty strongly favor a deregulated market where consumers decide winners and losers purely via their buying decisions.
There are exceptions, of course, but they are few —- all involving modest corrections to ensure that consumers and business owners truly are engaging in as free a market as possible. Utilities and monopolies, medications and food safety: These are areas where government oversight helps ensure that unscrupulous practitioners do not cause harm.
Proposition 33 strikes us as another of those exceptions where regulation is needed, however much it goes against our normal grain.
Put on the ballot by insurers, Prop. 33 seeks to lift a voter-approved prohibition (Prop. 103 in 1988) on charging automobile insurance customers a higher rate if they were not previously insured.
We see no reason to change the current ban on charging higher rates to the previously uninsured.
A person's likelihood of causing a vehicle collision tomorrow would not seem to hinge on whether they had insurance last week or not.
We're open to all kinds of methods, so long as supported by valid statistical analysis, for insurance companies to calculate risk: age and gender, type of vehicle driven, number of miles driven, past driving record.
But what other business gets to set the price it charges me based on whether I bought a similar product or service previously? The grocery doesn't get to charge me more for milk if I didn't buy milk last week.
We believe the arguments in favor of Prop. 33 are specious, and should be rejected by voters.
We urge a "no" vote on Prop. 33.