Covered California staying out of fight over Prop. 45
After months of intense discussions, California’s health insurance exchange on Thursday remained on the sidelines of a Nov. 4 ballot initiative that would allow the state’s elected insurance commissioner to regulate rates.
Covered California Board Chairwoman Diana Dooley, secretary of the Health and Human Services Agency, acknowledged the many concerns of the exchange and its more than 1 million consumers should Proposition 45 be approved. Among the impacts are its potential to interfere with the exchange’s role negotiating with health insurers, possible delays caused by third-party rate challengers, unforeseen effects on federal subsidies and the risk of plans pulling out of the program.
But taking a formal position against the measure could undermine the agency’s efforts to largely remain above the political fray as it enters its second year of the federal health care overhaul, Dooley said at the board’s meeting.
Other board members had argued the exchange should formally oppose the measure. A legal analysis prepared by the agency left open the possibility of weighing in on ballot measures, but it reiterated that the agency was prohibited from campaigning.
“I told him, ‘You’re not walking.’ ”