Consumer Group Pushes Public Insurance Option for State Ballot
Advocacy group Consumer Watchdog is pushing to put aÂ measure on the November 2012 ballot that would let voters decideÂ to haveÂ a public health insurance plan option, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
Details of the Measure
As part of the proposed ballot measure, Consumer Watchdog is calling for a 20% rollback of insurance rates and stronger oversight of premiums.
Consumer Watchdog Executive Director Jamie Court said theÂ group plans to prepare the ballot language and submit the measure to the state attorney general by November. Then the group will start collecting the 700,000 signatures necessary to qualify for the ballot.
Court said Consumer Watchdog plans to raise $6 million for a direct-mail campaign to voters. He added that insurance firms could invest as much as $100 million to fight the measure.
Court said the measure would be a "bellwether" for other states, adding, "If California passes a 20% rate rollback and the right of citizens to bypass private insurances in favor of a public plan, then every other major state will do that, too."
Timing of the Measure
Consumer Watchdog's measure comes as the Senate Appropriations Committee is scheduled to have a hearing today on a bill (AB 52), by Assembly member Mike Feuer (D-Los Angeles), that would allow the state insurance commissioner or the head of the state Department of Managed Health Care to change or reject proposed rate hikes that are deemed excessive.
The Assembly passed the bill in June (Marinucci/Colliver, San Francisco Chronicle, 8/25).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.