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Measure To Control Price Of Health Insurance Could Make November Ballot

Aired 5/18/12 on KPBS News.

A state measure that would require health insurers to get prior approval for rate increases may be on the November ballot.

— A state measure that seeks to regulate the price of health insurance in California could be on the November ballot. Supporters have turned in some 800,000 signatures to qualify their initiative.

Auto and homeowners insurance is already regulated in California. That means companies must get prior approval from the state insurance commissioner before they can raise premiums.

Jamie Court is president of Consumer Watchdog, the non-profit group that's sponsoring the initiative. He said it's not a radical idea.

"It simply extends to health insurance the same type of transparency and oversight that we have for auto and home insurance, and in auto and home insurance it's been a wild success," Court said.

Doctors groups and insurance companies are already attacking the measure. They argue it wouldn't reduce healthcare costs, but would deliver a windfall to trial attorneys.

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