Ballot Initiative Would Disrupt California Obamacare Exchange

Ballot Initiative Would Disrupt California Obamacare Exchange

A California ballot initiative to be voted on Nov. 4 would stymie the state’s Obamacare exchange, known officially as Covered California, by permitting the state insurance commissioner to reject health insurance rate hikes.

Opponents of the measure, like advocacy group Californians Against Higher Healthcare Costs, say the change would tie the hands of Covered California in ways that would disrupt negotiations between the state’s Obamacare exchange and insurance companies, as well as spark expensive legal challenges by outside organizations, reports the Sacramento Bee.

“One could decide three, four years into health reform that competition is not working, so let’s take a different approach,” said Obama administration health care law advisor Dr. Jon Kingsdale. “This would be asking the voters to decide less than one year into a whole new approach. We don’t even know until the end of this year what kind of rate increases we are going to see for next year. It feels like it’s absolutely the wrong time.”

Santa Monica-based Consumer Watchdog and Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones are pushing the Nov. 4 ballot measure. Jamie Court of Consumer Watchdog said the group’s successful track record of intervening in 71 cases has saved $2.9 billion. 

“We have saved huge amounts of money for consumers because insurers know better than to raise rates,” said Court.