K. Mennem 8:48 a.m., May 20
Proposal Could Limit Health Insurance Rate Hikes
A volunteer-backed citizens’ group calling itself Consumer Watchdog is pushing an initiative that would give the state insurance commissioner the power to reject excessive hikes in health care rates.
Current Commissioner Dave Jones complained during a San Diego appearance last July that although 1988’s Prop 103 gives him the power to regulate home, auto, and other types of property insurance, his office is essentially powerless to limit the actions of health insurers.
The current Consumer Watchdog campaign is chaired by Harvey Rosenfeld, author of the Prop 103 bill that awards power over rate increases in other insurance industries to the commissioner. Because the group is relying entirely on volunteers to gather at least 505,000 valid signatures, there is concern over whether it will reach the ballot.
A similar measure was shot down by the state legislature last year.