Saturday, November 26, 2011
The former "Nader's Raider" who used California's initiative process to regulate auto insurance rates is headed back to the ballot. This time he's spoiling to take on health insurers.
Harvey Rosenfield, the combative attorney and consumer advocate who wrote California's landmark Proposition 103 more than two decades ago, is preparing a ballot initiative that would force health insurers to get state government approval before they could raise premiums.
Stricter controls are needed to put some restraints on a industry that's reaping fat returns for shareholders and multimillion-dollar salaries for executives while consumers struggle to pay for coverage, Rosenfield said. In California, average premiums for family coverage rose 7.5% in 2010, according to the California HealthCare Foundation. They increased by 3% nationally for the same period. About 1 in 5 Californians, or 7.2 million, have no health insurance.