In the battle between the people and for-profit health sector over Proposition 45 that allows the Insurance Commissioner to review health insurance rate hikes, I am rooting for the people.
Government is us, and government is meant to protect us, the Davids, from the Goliaths. Left to the forces of capitalism without some moderating governmental oversight, we would still have child labor, slavery, 80-hour work weeks, no OSHA, unregulated utilities, no inspection of food and water quality, no limits on pollution, and so on.
In the case of Proposition 45, California is following the example of 35 other states that also thought not all health insurance rate increases are justified and should be reviewed. Health coverage is something we are beginning to accept as a necessity and thus something that everyone should be able to afford, either via premiums or via a tax-financed system. Empowering the Insurance Commissioner to review the rates and ask that the insurers present evidence of the need for increased premiums seems a reasonable move.
Let’s have the watchdog Insurance Commissioner guard the chickens, and not the foxes of the Covered California board, many of whom have ties to the insurance industry.
It isn’t a complete solution to our health financing and coverage problems, but until we get single payer improved, expanded Medicare for all, it will help.