Taking a Look at Proposition 45

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With the election less than a week away, we've decided to take a look at some of the more controversial issues on the ballot.

This time, we're looking at Proposition 45.  The measure would give power over regulating healthcare insurance rates to the state's insurance commissioner.

"I've seen my insurance rates go up 50 percent in the last two years," said citizen rights activist Rena Marrocco.

And that reason, more than anything else is why Marrocco supports Prop 45.  She said giving power to the state's insurance commissioner to reject unreasonable rate increases is the only way to rein in insurance companies.  

"This measure was created or written up in 2011, but it wasn't able to get on the ballot in 2012, which was when it was intended," said past president of the San Diego County Medical Society Dr. Sherry Franklin.

Franklin said the timing of Prop. 45 is important because of the ACA, the Affordable Care Act.  She said putting one person in charge of insurance plans in California would undermine the Insurance Commission Board.

"Why on earth do we need one person, a kingmaker to override the board that we created in the first place to do this job?" Franklin asked.

Proponents of the measure said the commission board does not have the power the insurance commissioner would to reject rate hikes, but Franklin said the board can get rid of certain plans, which she said amounts to the same thing.  But Marrocco pointed to the big spending being done by insurance companies, nearly $25 million dollars from just a few companies to stop Prop 45.  And as for putting too much power in the hands of one person, the insurance commissioner, that's an argument Marrocco rejects.

"If he or she is not doing their job to the best of their ability or to our liking, we can recall them and we can vote them out of office," she said.

Arguments about the advisability of giving one person the power to reject rate hikes aside, Franklin said there's more to Prop. 45.

"If you look at the bill, it's not just about rates," she said. "If it were just about rates, maybe we could all come to a consensus, but within the commissioners ability will be the ability to decide what is in your healthcare plan."

But Marrocco said it's important to remember who's funding the fight against Prop. 45.

"If you wanna keep a reasonable cost on your insurance premiums, you definitely want to vote yes on Proposition 45," Marrocco said.

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