Insurance Rate Approval Measure Fails To Qualify for Ballot, Author Says

TOPIC ALERT:

A measure that would give California's insurance commissioner the authority to approve or reject health insurance rate hikes has failed to qualify for the November ballot, according to the initiative's author, the Los Angeles Times reports (Lifsher, Los Angeles Times, 6/28).

Background

Last month, California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones (D) and Consumer Watchdog officials submitted to state officials 800,000 voter signatures to qualify the measure for the November ballot.

At least 504,760 valid signatures are required to place the measure on the ballot (California Healthline, 6/12).

Court Says Measure Falls Short of Required Signatures

Jamie Court, president of Consumer Watchdog, said he was told Thursday by the secretary of state's office that the measure likely does not have enough valid signatures (Los Angeles Times, 6/28).

According to the Sacramento Bee's "Capitol Alert," Los Angeles County submitted a random-sample count of valid signatures for the measure. The county reported that 66.6% of signatures were valid, below the 69% threshold necessary to have enough valid signatures statewide to avoid a full count (Rosenhall, "Capitol Alert," Sacramento Bee, 6/28).

The secretary of state's office said it would not report on the status of the measure until all of the state's counties have reported their counts by the July 13 deadline.

Looking Ahead

The initiative likely will appear on the November 2014 ballot if it collects enough signatures, according to the Times (Los Angeles Times, 6/28).

Court said delaying the measure until the 2014 ballot would give Consumer Watchdog time to raise money to "make sure this gets done right, no matter how much the health insurance companies spend against us."

He added, "We have a better chance of victory by gathering resources over the next two years" ("Capitol Alert," Sacramento Bee, 6/28).


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