$100 million spent by insurance companies against our two pro-consumer initiatives, coupled with an historic low voter turnout, was a recipe for consumers to lose Tuesday night.
The defeat of California Propositions 45 and 46 are a sobering reminder of the power of big corporate money in California politics when the electorate is not engaged. A mere 5 million Californians voted Tuesday, dwarfing even the worst voter turnout estimates. The insurance companies' barrage of negative advertising suppressed the vote and drove voters away from the polls.
The consumer rip-offs by health insurance companies targeted in Prop 45, and the threats to patients’ safety addressed by Prop 46, are profound problems that will not go away.
We will not give up the fight until justice is done on both fronts.
The insurance companies may have the money, but we have the truth: More must be done to rein in price gouging insurance companies and a medical-insurance complex unaccountable to injured patients, including those who suffer at the hands of impaired doctors.
The public wants protections against excessive rates, but insurance companies spent $57 million on deceptive advertising that hid their role in opposing Prop 45 and lied about its impact. Insurance price gouging is going to intensify without Proposition 45’s protections.
Health insurance companies cannot hide from rate regulation in California forever. We will continue to expose health insurance company profiteering and make the case with the public and the legislature for health insurance companies to be as accountable for the rates they charge as business, home and auto insurance companies are.
The fight for greater patient safety will go on too in the court of public opinion, the regulatory process, the legislature, the courts and, if need be, the initiative process.
The families of innocent victims of negligence deserve access to justice. All Californians deserve to know they are safe from drunk, high and negligent physicians. We won’t rest until patients are protected. Our efforts generated widespread acknowledgment of these problems that have been ignored for the better part of four decades in California.
The fight for the patient and consumer protections embodied in Props 45 and 46 is just beginning. We will continue that battle.
Insurance companies will be accountable for their rip-offs and for medical negligence. Consumers will have their day. Justice will be done.
Thanks for all you support. Stay tuned as we debrief and report back on our next steps.