With just over a week until election day, backers of Proposition 45, the health insurance rate regulation initiative, are finally putting ads on television.
Though their opponents have used a $55-million campaign war chest to flood the airwaves, Consumer Watchdog, the Santa Monica activist group that put the measure on the ballot, only has $1 million to spend on limited TV and radio spots.
The TV ads, set to air beginning Monday in the Los Angeles market, show marching, animated banknotes and warn voters that "health insurance companies have unleashed armies of money to mislead you about Proposition 45."
The initiative is needed, the ad says, to keep insurers from being free to raise rates as much as they please.
The radio ads, which are airing in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area, pose the question: "When did health insurance companies ever spend $55 million against a ballot measure to protect you?"
The anti-Proposition 45 campaign, which has increased its lead in recent polls, called the Consumer Watchdog message misleading.
The new Obama health insurance program, known here as Covered California, contains many features that control insurance costs, said No spokeswoman Robin Swanson.