Consumer Watchdog, a top consumer rights group from California, is working to divert the attention of the 2012 election away from the Obama administration’s health care overhaul in favor of a state ballot measure that seeks a public option, stricter premium oversight, and a rollback of 20 percent for insurance rates.
The initiative by this Santa Monica-based group is aimed at the ballot in California in November 2012. Consumer Watchdog is the same group that brought about the landmark ballot measure in 1988, Proposition 103, which set cost and regulatory oversight over the auto insurance rates within California.
Executive director of Consumer Watchdog, Jamie Court, stated that this latest proposal is essentially the “only forward movement toward patients” within the debate over American healthcare since the start of the Affordable Care Act.
According to Court, this is an important predictor for things to come in the United States because if California does pass a rollback of 20 percent and the right of the residents of the state to “bypass private insurances in favor of a public plan, then every other major state will do that, too.”
The significant increases in the individual insurance marketplace, which provides coverage to individuals who do not have protection from other sources such as from an employer or a group, have been the focus of national debate over federal laws since 2010 when Anthem Blue Cross attempted to implement a rate increase as high as 39 percent on policies in California.
The intentions of Consumer Watchdog, according to Court, are to establish the language for the ballot measure, and have it submitted to the state attorney general’s office by November so that the required 700,000 signatures can begin being collected in order to qualify it for the ballot.