As the Supreme Court upheld President Obama’s healthcare law Thursday, a battle may be looming in California over insurance rate hikes this fall. The state is currently reviewing signatures to see if a proposed initiative will qualify for the November ballot.
Both critics and supporters of an initiative have been raising millions of dollars in their efforts. Proponents hope to give the state’s insurance commissioner the ability to regulate health insurance rates, much like it does for auto and property coverage.
The initiative faces staunch opposition from major insurers in California like Anthem Blue Cross, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan Inc., Health Net Inc., Blue Shield of California and United Healthcare Insurance Co.
But after Thursday’s ruling, Santa Monica-based Consumer Watchdog, the group leading the ballot initiative, said it will double down on efforts to get the ballot initiative — if it qualifies — passed.
“The upholding of the individual mandate makes rate regulation the next essential phase of health reform and we hope the president will join in helping us to keep premiums low if people are going to be taxed for not having health insurance,” said the group’s president, Jamie Court. “The last piece of reform is now making sure health insurance premiums are affordable if Californians are going to have to buy it.”