By Helen Shen, Kaiser Health News
California voters are showing strong early support for a ballot initiative that would expand the state’s authority to regulate health insurance rates.
Nearly 7 of every 10 respondents indicated that they would vote in favor of Proposition 45, while 16 percent would vote against it, according to a Field poll released Wednesday.
Proposition 45 would give California’s insurance commissioner the power to veto excessive health insurance rate increases.
Health insurance rates in the state are currently overseen by the Department of Managed Health Care and the California Department of Insurance. Insurance companies are required to submit proposed rate increases for review each year by state regulators, who may declare rates unreasonable but cannot block them from going into effect. Continue reading
Peter Lee, seen here in a 2012 photo, is the executive director of Covered California and testified Thursday before the joint legislative committee on health.
State insurance commissioner Dave Jones is flatly rejecting accusations that a proposition on November’s ballot would undermine the implementation of the Affordable Care Act in California.
If passed by voters, Proposition 45 would give the commissioner the power to reject excessive rate hikes for health insurance –- and, he argues, keep health premiums affordable for consumers. Last month, Covered California, the state’s health insurance exchange, said the measure could compromise its operations, possibly causing delays in approving health plans before they are federally mandated to go on sale to consumers, or curtailing its own authority to negotiate the details of plans with insurers.
“These conclusions are fundamentally flawed,” Jones said on Wednesday, speaking before the state’s joint legislative committee on health. Continue reading