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Recent

News Release
10/23/2014
Carmen Balber & Jamie Court
San Diego, CA – Health insurance policyholders joined with bedside nurses from the California Nurses Association and consumer advocates supporting Proposition 45, which prohibits excessive rate increases, to deliver a pickup truck containing a ton of steer manure to Blue Shield’s San Diego offices. The Proposition 45 supporters said they were simply returning some of the same material...
Video
10/23/2014
Michael Finney looks at the campaign for Prop 45 and how it is similar to the fight to pass Prop 103 back in the 80's.
News Release
10/22/2014
Jamie Court & Liza Tucker
Santa Monica, CA— The Department of Insurance today declared Anthem Blue Cross’s 9.8% rate increase on small business “unreasonable,” but has no power to stop the hikes unless Proposition 45 passes. Proposition 45, which gives the elected insurance commissioner the power to reject excessive rates, is being opposed by $55 million from the insurance industry, including $18....
News Release
10/20/2014
Jamie Court & Mark Reback
Santa Monica, CA -- On Saturday, the three big health insurance companies that control California’s health insurance market gave another $12 million to their campaign to defeat Proposition 45, which will give California the authority to stop health insurance rate overcharges.   The total insurance industry spending against Consumer Watchdog’s Prop 45 now tops $55 million, with...
News Release
10/17/2014
Carmen Balber & John M. Simpson
SANTA MONICA, CA – The Fresno Bee has endorsed Proposition 45 saying it will rein in health insurance rates and noting “powerful forces are opposed” to the ballot initiative. “These forces — you know them as Blue Cross, Blue Shield, Kaiser, HealthNet and United Healthcare — don't want voters to approve Prop. 45 on the Nov. 4 ballot because it would force...
News Release
10/16/2014
Liza Tucker
SANTA MONICA, CA – Health Insurer HealthNet has chipped in nearly $5 million to defeat Prop 45 in a sign that the health insurance industry fears rate regulation that a yes vote on the proposition would bring, Consumer Watchdog said today. The insurance pot against Prop 45 now totals $43 million to pay for misleading and deceptive TV ads, radio spots, and “independent” opinion...
News Release
10/14/2014
Jamie Court & Carmen Balber
El Segundo, CA -- Blue Shield policyholders joined with bedside nurses from the California Nurses Association, consumer advocates and other supporters of Proposition 45’s rate relief measure to deliver a pickup truck of steer manure to Blue Shield’s offices. The Proposition 45 supporters said they were simply returning some of the same material that the insurance company, which has...
Video
10/14/2014
Blue Shield policyholders joined with bedside nurses from the California Nurses Association, consumer advocates and other supporters of Proposition 45’s rate relief measure to deliver a pickup truck of steer manure to Blue Shield’s offices. The Proposition 45 supporters said they were simply returning some of the same material that the insurance company, which has given $9.5 million...
Video
10/14/2014
Blue Shield policyholders joined with bedside nurses from the California Nurses Association, consumer advocates and other supporters of Proposition 45’s rate relief measure to deliver a pickup truck of steer manure to Blue Shield’s offices. The Proposition 45 supporters said they were simply returning some of the same material that the insurance company, which has given $9.5 million...
News Release
10/13/2014
Jamie Court & Carmen Balber
Santa Monica, CA -- In response to the Associated Press’s disclosure of unusual no-bid contracts between California’s insurance exchange Covered California and well-connected insurance executives, Consumer Watchdog called upon the Attorney General of California to launch an independent investigation of various contracts at the agency with industry insiders. Read the letter here: http...
Blog Post
11/22/2013
By Jamie Court
An analysis just released by California’s health insurance exchange, Covered California, offers the first real insight into the depth of the Obamacare cancellation crisis. About 450,000 of the 900,000 cancelled California policyholders will see rate hikes, according to the analysis released by Covered California.  That’s 50% of all cancelled Californians who will be paying more...
Blog Post
11/19/2013
Harvey Rosenfield
Regulation of insurance companies, introduced by Proposition 103, could repair a loophole in the Affordable Care Act. "We didn't do a good enough job in terms of how we crafted the law," an apologetic President Obama said this month, shortly after millions of Americans got notices from their health insurance companies that their current policies were going to be canceled because...
Blog Post
6/29/2012
By Jamie Court
The finish line has moved forward, but our cause has become even more crucial. You probably know that the Supreme Court upheld vital consumer protections but also ruled that all Californians will have to buy health insurance. Yesterday was also the deadline for county election officials in California to certify that we had enough valid signatures to put our ballot initiative to force health...
Blog Post
5/31/2012
Judy Dugan
Thursday's reports that some Californians will get rebates on their health insurance premiums are a little bit of good news--but not nearly as good as it could be.   An L.A. Times story reports that California small businesses and their employees who are insured by United Health Group will get rebates averaging $98 on last year's premiums because United Health didn't spend at...
Blog Post
5/24/2012
Judy Dugan
Wow. People really don't like insurance companies or their overpaid CEOs. Our news release Wednesday, and a similar message to our mailing list, cheered the pending departure of Blue Shield CEO Bruce Bodaken. We included a rundown of how he treated his customers in the last few years: A rate increase proposal of up to 86% in a year. A corporate stash of $3.2 billion in excessive reserves...
Blog Post
5/23/2012
Jamie Court
The long time CEO of Blue Shield Bruce Bodaken resigned today after a multi-year battle with us over disclosure of his $4.6 million annual salary and unreasonable premium hikes. During his tenure, Bodaken oversaw a health insurance company that has raised rates by tens of millions of dollars while stockpiling $3.2 billion more in “reserves” than the state requires. Blue Shield is...
Blog Post
5/12/2012
Daniel Palay
Next week we will be turning in the signatures for our ballot petition to force health insurance companies to justify their rates and get permission before instituting their rate hikes. Download, sign and return in the mail by the end of the weekend to be part of the signature turn-in or forever hold your peace. This short video preview of the initiative by our friends in Hollywood explains why...
Blog Post
5/7/2012
Jamie Court
Two years ago, as federal health reform lay on death’s door, CEO Angela Braly, head of Blue Cross’s parent company Wellpoint, spit on beleaguered patients. She sat through poignant Congressional testimony from customers whose lives were being ruined by spiraling premium hikes, then Braly testified that the public outrage was "a triumph of sound bites over substance." The...
Blog Post
5/1/2012
Carmen Balber
One million Californians will be slammed today with health insurance rate hikes as high as 20%. Consumer Watchdog Campaign has a solution. Watch this short, funny movie trailer about an alternative future with no rate hikes, and share it with your friends. Health insurance price hikes recur more often than Groundhog Day -- Spring, Summer, Winter, Fall. Now there’s something Californians...
Blog Post
4/23/2012
Laurel Kaufer
My name is Laurel Kaufer and I’m a Consumer Watchdog member. I am also one of the one million Californians who will be hit with a health insurance rate hike on May 1st. Are you one of the May Million facing rate hikes of up to 20%? As a self-employed, single mom, I’ve struggled for more than a decade to balance the cost of health care with the need to seek medical help for my family...
News Release
10/23/2014
Carmen Balber & Jamie Court
San Diego, CA – Health insurance policyholders joined with bedside nurses from the California Nurses Association and consumer advocates supporting Proposition 45, which prohibits excessive rate increases, to deliver a pickup truck containing a ton of steer manure to Blue Shield’s San Diego offices. The Proposition 45 supporters said they were simply returning some of the same material...
News Release
10/22/2014
Jamie Court & Liza Tucker
Santa Monica, CA— The Department of Insurance today declared Anthem Blue Cross’s 9.8% rate increase on small business “unreasonable,” but has no power to stop the hikes unless Proposition 45 passes. Proposition 45, which gives the elected insurance commissioner the power to reject excessive rates, is being opposed by $55 million from the insurance industry, including $18....
News Release
10/20/2014
Jamie Court & Mark Reback
Santa Monica, CA -- On Saturday, the three big health insurance companies that control California’s health insurance market gave another $12 million to their campaign to defeat Proposition 45, which will give California the authority to stop health insurance rate overcharges.   The total insurance industry spending against Consumer Watchdog’s Prop 45 now tops $55 million, with...
News Release
10/17/2014
Carmen Balber & John M. Simpson
SANTA MONICA, CA – The Fresno Bee has endorsed Proposition 45 saying it will rein in health insurance rates and noting “powerful forces are opposed” to the ballot initiative. “These forces — you know them as Blue Cross, Blue Shield, Kaiser, HealthNet and United Healthcare — don't want voters to approve Prop. 45 on the Nov. 4 ballot because it would force...
News Release
10/16/2014
Liza Tucker
SANTA MONICA, CA – Health Insurer HealthNet has chipped in nearly $5 million to defeat Prop 45 in a sign that the health insurance industry fears rate regulation that a yes vote on the proposition would bring, Consumer Watchdog said today. The insurance pot against Prop 45 now totals $43 million to pay for misleading and deceptive TV ads, radio spots, and “independent” opinion...
News Release
10/14/2014
Jamie Court & Carmen Balber
El Segundo, CA -- Blue Shield policyholders joined with bedside nurses from the California Nurses Association, consumer advocates and other supporters of Proposition 45’s rate relief measure to deliver a pickup truck of steer manure to Blue Shield’s offices. The Proposition 45 supporters said they were simply returning some of the same material that the insurance company, which has...
News Release
10/13/2014
Jamie Court & Carmen Balber
Santa Monica, CA -- In response to the Associated Press’s disclosure of unusual no-bid contracts between California’s insurance exchange Covered California and well-connected insurance executives, Consumer Watchdog called upon the Attorney General of California to launch an independent investigation of various contracts at the agency with industry insiders. Read the letter here: http...
News Release
10/10/2014
John M. Simpson & Carmen Balber
SANTA MONICA, CA – Public challenges to insurance rate requests have saved consumers $3.063 billion on auto, homeowners and medical malpractice policies over the last 12 years, demonstrating the potential savings under Prop 45 which applies the same limits on health insurance rates, Consumer Watchdog said today. Proposition 45 on the November ballot would require health insurance companies...
News Release
10/9/2014
Carmen Balber & Jamie Court
San Francisco, CA – Consumer advocates and nurses launched a new “Yes on 45” street art campaign hitting San Francisco and Sacramento this week that exposes the health insurance companies spending $37.5 million to oppose Proposition 45. Thousands of posters will be plastered through wild-posting in the coming days in other cities across the state. The 2 ft. by 3 ft. posters...
News Release
10/3/2014
Harvey Rosenfield & Carmen Balber
Santa Monica, CA -- Proposition 45, the health insurance reform initiative on the November ballot, is following the path taken by the 1988 insurance reform initiative on which it is based, Proposition 103.  The landmark insurance reform overcame $63 million in insurance industry spending and the opposition of the entire California political establishment to pass on November 4, 1988 –...
News Story
10/24/2014
Op-Ed Commentary by Carmen Balber, THE DAILY CALIFORNIAN
Students with parents who have health insurance can now stay on their plans until they are 26, thanks to the Affordable Care Act. But when young people strike out on their own as app developers, artists, therapists, graphic designers or any other kind of entrepreneur looking to buy their own insurance, they will discover California is still the Wild West. Runaway hikes in health care premiums...
News Story
10/24/2014
By Marc Lifsher, LOS ANGELES TIMES
With just over a week until election day, backers of Proposition 45, the health insurance rate regulation initiative, are finally putting ads on television. Though their opponents have used a $55-million campaign war chest to flood the airwaves, Consumer Watchdog, the Santa Monica activist group that put the measure on the ballot, only has $1 million to spend on limited TV and radio spots. The...
News Story
10/24/2014
By Judy Lin, ASSOCIATED PRESS
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Two health care-related initiatives on the November ballot have generated more than $100 million in spending, with insurers and doctors leading the fight to defeat both, according to campaign finance reports filed late Thursday. Opponents of Proposition 45, led by Kaiser Foundation Health Plan Inc., Wellpoint Inc. and Blue Shield of California, reported spending $42...
News Story
10/23/2014
By Philip Elliott, ASSOCIATED PRESS
WASHINGTON (AP) — Voters may not know it, but the millions of dollars paying for ads on ballot measures they will consider next month come from large companies and national advocacy groups. Many of the messages are tailored to defend or expand the business interests of companies such as Coca-Cola, Monsanto and ExxonMobil, yet few have their names in the ads. For example, $6.4 million in...
News Story
10/23/2014
By Staff Writers, CALIFORNIA HEALTHLINE
On Wednesday, California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones (D) called Anthem Blue Cross' premium increase for small business health plans "excessive," the San Francisco Chronicle reports (Colliver, San Francisco Chronicle, 10/22). Jones' office can review rate filings, but it does not have the authority to reject them. The 9.8% increase was filed with regulators in July and...
News Story
10/23/2014
By Sharon Chen, FOX TV-5 San Diego, CA
SAN DIEGO – A giant stink bomb was dropped outside the San Diego offices of Blue Shield Thursday by supporters of Proposition 45, a ballot measure that would require health insurance companies to disclose rate changes publically. A consumer “watchdog” group dumped a wheelbarrow-full of manure on the front door of Blue Shield office in Mission Valley to represent how insurance...
News Story
10/23/2014
EDITORIAL by EGP NEWS (Spanish)
California Statewide Ballot Measures Proposition 45—Healthcare Insurance. Rate changes, initiative statute.  This initiative requires the State Insurance Commissioner to approve rates and policy changes set by health insurance providers before they can be passed on to consumers. It will exempt large employers, but applies to the insurance provided to all other persons or groups. This...
News Story
10/23/2014
By Michael Finney, KGO ABC TV-7 San Francisco, CA
SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) --A new poll out shows Proposition 45 may be headed for defeat. Prop 45 would give the state's insurance commissioner the power to veto rate increases on health insurance, just as he can now for auto insurance. Currently, only 39 percent of voters say they'll vote for it. The proposition asks voters if they think the state should regulate the price people pay...
News Story
10/22/2014
By Chad Terhune, LOS ANGELES TIMES
In the final days of a battle over Proposition 45, California's insurance commissioner criticized Anthem Blue Cross for an "excessive" rate hike affecting 120,000 people with small-business health coverage. Dave Jones, the state's elected insurance commissioner, said Anthem had failed to justify its 10% average rate increase and used an "unwarranted accounting maneuver...
News Story
10/22/2014
By Chris Rauber , SAN FRANCISCO BUSINESS TIMES
With Election Day less than two weeks away, Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones blasted Anthem Blue Cross for what he deemed an "unreasonable" rate increase for a small sub-set of its business. Jones described the 9.8 percent boost in rates for roughly 120,000 small-group enrollees as the fourth consecutive rate increase by the Thousand Oaks-based health insurer that the California...
Video
10/23/2014
Michael Finney looks at the campaign for Prop 45 and how it is similar to the fight to pass Prop 103 back in the 80's.
Video
10/14/2014
Blue Shield policyholders joined with bedside nurses from the California Nurses Association, consumer advocates and other supporters of Proposition 45’s rate relief measure to deliver a pickup truck of steer manure to Blue Shield’s offices. The Proposition 45 supporters said they were simply returning some of the same material that the insurance company, which has given $9.5 million...
Video
10/14/2014
Blue Shield policyholders joined with bedside nurses from the California Nurses Association, consumer advocates and other supporters of Proposition 45’s rate relief measure to deliver a pickup truck of steer manure to Blue Shield’s offices. The Proposition 45 supporters said they were simply returning some of the same material that the insurance company, which has given $9.5 million...
Video
10/10/2014
Health insurance regulators review rates, and they may even find them unreasonable. But there is no law to force insurance companies to comply with a regulators recommendations. Proposition 45 would change that.
Video
10/9/2014
Consumer advocates and nurses launched a new “Yes on 45” street art campaign hitting San Francisco and Sacramento this week that exposes the health insurance companies spending $37.5 million to oppose Proposition 45. Thousands of posters will be plastered through wild-posting in the coming days in other cities across the state. Michael Finney with KGO TV-7 ABC in San Francisco has the...
Video
10/7/2014
Jamie Court debates the need for Prop 45 Health Insurance rate regulation on KNBC TV-4 Los Angeles.
Video
10/1/2014
The Yes On Prop 45 campaign today released its first television advertisement featuring three working registered nurses discussing how their patients’ health care has been compromised by health insurance companies that are raising their rates.
Video
10/1/2014
View Edit Track Nodequeue Node export Diana Guth and Judy Graff Fisher spoke Wednesday at a news conference organized by Consumer Watchdog, a Santa Monica-based advocacy organization, to promote Prop 45, a ballot measure that would give the state's insurance commissioner the authority to reject unjustified rate hikes on health insurance. It would affect six million...
Video
9/19/2014
The largest health insurance companies in California have contributed $37 million to defeat Proposition 45. Proposition 45 requires health insurance companies to get permission before raising rates for approximately 6 million individual and small business insurance policyholders. More than 35 other states have the power to reject unreasonable health insurance rates, but no federal or state agency...
Video
9/11/2014
Proposition 45 reached the footsteps of Blue Shield's office in San Francisco. Prop 45 supporters are upset Blue Shield bought a luxury sky box for 49ers games, and they say the nonprofit health insurer should not be spending money on luxury suites.

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