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Consumer Watchdog Campaign begins battle for rate regulation in the health insurance industry




Health care reform protest at Blue Shield of California, October, 2009.
Health care reform protest at Blue Shield of California, October, 2009.
Steve Rhodes/Flickr

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Hey, Californians – have you noticed that your health care rates have increased since the Affordable Care Act went into effect? Some consumer groups are worried that the trend will continue and grow more drastic. Current state law allows health insurance companies to set their own rates without outside regulation, unlike auto insurers, who must submit their rates to Rate Filing Bureaus for approval, required since Proposition 103 passed in 1988. Now the Consumer Watchdog Campaign, the organization responsible for Proposition 103, is trying to get a new initiative on 2012’s ballot, requiring that health care providers “justify their rates” to an independent Insurance Commissioner. Consumer Watchdog volunteers will hit the supermarkets, street corners, and your inbox as they seek out the 505,000 signatures necessary to make the ballot.

WEIGH IN

Are you worried about your insurance rates? If health insurance companies are curtailed from raising their rates, would we see a cut in services?

Guests:

Harvey Rosenfield, author of prop 103 for insurance reform and chair of Consumer Watchdog’s Insurance Rate Public Justification and Accountability Act

Dr. Paul Phinney, president-elect, California Medical Association