Prop 45: CA Doubles Down On Obamacare With New 'Health Care Czar'

Prop 45: CA Doubles Down On Obamacare With New 'Health Care Czar'

If you like Obamacare, you’re going to love Proposition 45, the ballot initiative that would give one politician– liberal Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones–complete authority over health care costs and benefits for individuals and small businesses in California.

Worse, the trial lawyers who fund Jones’s campaigns wrote Prop 45 to help them make more money from frivolous lawsuits. When liberal politicians and trial lawyers conspire to change laws to benefit themselves, you can bet that taxpayers will get the short end of the stick.

It’s frightening to think that one liberal politician could literally make health care decisions for you and me. In addition to single-handedly setting rates, Jones would have power over anything affecting rates, including co-pays, deductibles and even which benefits insurance companies cover. Jones, a trial attorney himself who used to work for Janet Reno, has absolutely zero medical background, as far as I can tell. And he’d be making these decisions about my health care without any input from the medical community.

I’m sorry, but Dave Jones making decisions about my health care is beyond even my worst nightmares of the socialist nanny state that California is becoming. Treatment options should be between me and my doctors and nurses–not a Democrat politician and his trial attorney pals trying to make a buck.

As San Diego Union-Tribune columnist Steven Greenhut recently wrote, the “trial-attorney-backed initiative…would allow the insurance commissioner to control health-insurance rates, turning him into the de facto ‘insurance czar.’

That a politician has written an initiative to become a “czar” underscores how far Democrats are overreaching to expand their power in California. The last thing we need to do in California is give Democrats even more responsibility by creating new “czars” to limit the freedom and liberty of taxpayers.

In a recent legislative hearing, lawmakers rightly questioned Jones about his role as an elected official spending taxpayer resources to promote a ballot initiative. He denies the charge, but his office released an official report on insurance rates that he argued made the case for Prop 45.

Some politicians questioning Jones are fellow Democrats, and liberal organizations are joining business, health care, and taxpayer groups in opposition to Prop 45. Dozens of unions such as SEIU are opposed to the measure, as is the state’s NAACP. There’s something for everyone to hate with Prop 45.

The initiative is written by the same people who wrote 1988’s Proposition 103, which gave the insurance commissioner sole power over car insurance rates. Backed by Ralph Nader, the measure created “intervenor fees” for trial lawyers and consumer advocates to challenge insurance rates. These intervenors have made $11 million off these lawsuits–costs that, of course, are passed on to California drivers.

Prop 45 allows intervenors to charge as much as $675/hour, which has led to has led to officials at leading intervenor Consumer Watchdog to make millions of dollars in salaries in recent years. All of this money for trial lawyers comes straight out of our health care system and is passed on to consumers. Again, trial lawyers win at the expense of taxpayers.

Aside from trial lawyers making millions to anoint “Czar Jones,” Prop 45 is Obamacare on steroids. You see, it was written before Obamacare, but the backers failed to qualify it for the 2012 ballot, so it’s on for November. Problem is, now that Obamacare is being implemented through Covered California, Prop 45 would add duplicative bureaucracy on top of the new health care mandates. It would create a tangled web of new regulations on top of the Obamacare regulations, ultimately with all the additional costs passed along to you and me.

Small businesses would particularly suffer under Prop 45, which would increase insurance costs and kill jobs in what is already among the worst places in the country for small businesses.

And since this is California, we already fund three separate state government agencies to oversee our health insurance. Do we really need another state bureaucracy when we can least afford it, ultimately paid for with higher health insurance premiums?

According to the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO), Prop. 45 could cost millions of dollars or more every year for the bureaucracy of additional government workers and the high salaries and benefits that come with it–without doing anything to control the costs that are driving health insurance premiums.

Obamacare already has burdened our health care system with too many new government mandates, and Prop 45 only makes matters worse. I agree that we need to rein in health care costs, but we also need to rein the one-party dictatorial rule in this state of Democrats, and the special interests that fund their campaigns. Passing a costly initiative to make Dave Jones a “czar” of anything and pouring more money into those special interest coffers is just insane. 

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