Prop. 45 Could Interfere With Covered California, Opponents Say

Opponents of Proposition 45 say the measure, which would give the state insurance commissioner authority over proposed health insurance rates, could interfere with Covered California.

Opponents, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, charge that the ballot measure could interfere with the Affordable Care Act, which seems to be working well in California.

“The problem with this act is that it is very poorly written and it will interfere potentially with the renewal of those policies that these people are getting under Covered California,” Dario Frommer, the “No on 45” Legal Counsel, said.

But the leader of the Proposition 45 campaign, Consumer Watchdog President Jamie Court, says giving the insurance commissioner the power to regulate health insurance rates will not disrupt Covered California, except, perhaps to lower the cost of health insurance for some consumers.

“Prop. 45 is there to make sure, if individuals and small businesses have to pay for health insurance, that they’re going to be charged a reasonable rate that is not excessive,” Court said.

And Diana Guth, a small business owner, agrees.

She says her company, Home Respiratory Care, is doing just fine until it comes to paying for health insurance for her employees.

“I’m paying about $600 per employee, per month now, and it’s not affordable. It’s impossible. They need to be stopped,” she said.

Thus far, opponents of the measure have raised about $57 million, funded almost entirely by the health care industry, which is nearly ten times what supporters have raised. The “Yes on 45” ads are funded in part by the California Nurses Association.

But opponents charge that Proposition 45 contains a poisoned pill that could create chaos and uncertainty by allowing outside parties, called interveners, to challenge the rates charged to Covered California customers.

“The intervener process takes an average of 345 days to complete and it is not synced up with the Covered California program,” Frommer said.

Recent polls have conflicting numbers on Proposition 45. A field poll this week showed support is shrinking, perhaps the result of a barrage of anti-Prop. 45 television ads. Still, nearly a third of the voters said they haven’t made up their minds, yet.

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