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No one could have foreseen it.

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Californians Against Higher Health Care Costs, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Ministry of Truth four of the largest health insurance companies in California, has come out against a ballot initiative that would give the California Insurance Commissioner the ability to regulate health insurance rates and demand transparency to the public as to why rate hikes are justified.

Okay, maybe they aren't "wholly owned." You decide. Here's the disclaimer to their website.

Paid for by Californians Against Higher Health Care Costs, a coalition of doctors, hospitals, health insurers, and California employers. Major funding by United Healthcare Insurance Company, Anthem Blue Cross, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc., Health Net, Inc., and Blue Shield of California.
California's health insurers and their lackeys, legislators in pocket, were able to prevent AB 52, a bill similar to this ballot initiative, from becoming law.

Now these same organizations are aiming a smidgen of the vast profits they make by denying Californians health care at Consumer Watchdog Campaign's attempt to get something similar onto the ballot.  If it does get on the ballot, you can be sure they'll unleash a veritable tsunami of attack ads crying "socialism", "Kenyanism" and "nanny-state-ism", along with the usual pack of lies about the bill's consequences (after all, more than twenty states have given their Insurance Commissioners similar powers, and last I checked the flag still had fifty stars).

So what can you do to "Just Say FU" to big health insurers? You can join Senator Diane Feinstein and download the ballot initiative petition, make as many copies as you'd like, have your registered-California-voter family and friends sign, and mail them back in.

"I am proud to tell you that I was the first person to sign a new ballot initiative petition that will reform the health insurance industry in California," Feinstein, a San Francisco Democrat, wrote in an email sent to about 2 million registered voters.

The Senator urged recipients to print out the petitions and sign their names to help get the 505,000 signatures needed to qualify the measure for the November ballot. Efforts to pass similar laws in the state Legislature were opposed by the insurance and healthcare industries and failed repeatedly over the last five years.

I did it. I sent in three. It's pretty easy. Easy enough for any computer-literate Kossack -- is there any other kind -- to handle with one mouse tied behind his or her keyboard. If both mice are indisposed, you can even have the initiative's sponsors mail you some petition forms.

This is something that should have passed a Democratic legislature in Sacramento easily, and been signed with fanfare by a Democratic Governor. That it is being left to the people to do battle by themselves with health insurance giants is disgusting.  And yet at least there is hope. People are fed up. People hate the insurance companies. This initiative will pass, if given the chance to do so.

The Consumer Watchdog Campaign says they are on target to meet their signature goal. If you live and vote in California, please do your part to keep them sprinting along.


Do It Now. Download or Request the Petition. Click Me.



Originally posted to jpmassar on Sat Mar 17, 2012 at 08:36 AM PDT.

Also republished by California politics, SFKossacks, Progressive Policy Zone, Dailykos Kossacks For Action, Healthcare Reform - We've Only Just Begun, and Single Payer California.

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