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This week we launched our campaign in Sacramento for our top priorities: 1) giving you power to stop unwanted collection of your personal information online and 2) an end to excessive health insurance premium hikes.

No one at Consumer Watchdog's offices yesterday could doubt the need for better regulation of health insurance premiums. Anthem Blue Cross patient Janet Stephens told the press, after facing a double digit premium hike: "I feel like Blue Cross has a gun to my head."

Assembly Bill 52 (Feuer), unveiled in the Capitol earlier this week, requires health insurance companies to get permission from California regulators before raising rates. This is the same sort that prior approval system that applies to auto and home insurance under Prop 103.

Stephens is one of 150,000 Californians caught in the archaic regulatory structure in California who are scheduled to receive a premium increase of up to 26% because their policies are overseen by the Department of Managed Health Care, while customers with similar policies regulated by the California Department of Insurance will face much smaller increases later in the year. The Los Angeles Times profiled the problem yesterday and Consumer Watchdog called for Governor Brown's help.

Senate Bill 761, which Senator Alan Lowenthal has authored and Consumer Watchdog sponsored, creates a state "Do Not Track Me" mechanism. All businesses in the state would have to respect our wishes not be tracked online if we so chose. As the LA Times reported Wednesday, "California is putting itself in the position to lead the fight for online privacy."

If you live in California, you can weigh in with your state legislators for SB 761 here and AB 52 here.

Thanks for all your help launching our initiatives in Sacramento. As always, your tax-deductible contributions are greatly appreciated.