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Hoover poll shows support for health insurance rate regulation

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Security guards watch as Jamie Court of the Consumer Watchdog organization places a sign into buckets filled with steer manure outside Blue Shield offices in El Segundo on Oct. 14. The odoriferous message was delivered by Proposition 45 supporters protesting Blue Shield sponsorship of anti-Proposition 45 commercials.
(Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times)

Proposition 45, a ballot measure that would regulate health insurance rates, is ahead, according to a new Internet poll by the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.

The survey of self-reported, registered voters who said they planned to vote in the Nov. 4 election, had Proposition 45 leading with 41.6% of those queried and opposed by 29.9%. Undecideds were 28.5%.

The poll was taken between Oct. 3 and Oct. 17 and had a margin of error of 3.65%.

The Hoover numbers are dramatically different from results of a Public Policy Institute of California poll released last week. They had 46% of likely voters opposing Proposition 45 and 39% favoring it, with 15% not sure. The PPIC poll was taken between Oct. 12 and Oct. 19 and had a margin of error of 3.5%.

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Proposition 45 would give the state insurance commissioner the power to review proposed health insurance rates and reject those deemed “excessive.”

Opponents, including health insurance companies, doctors and some labor unions, counter that the measure would interfere with California’s new health insurance program under the federal Affordable Care Act. They also argue that passage of Proposition 45 would drive up healthcare costs.

The Yes on 45 campaign, led by the Santa Monica-based Consumer Watchdog group, hailed the poll results as a sign that voters are paying attention to the tens of millions of dollars being spent by health insurance companies to pay for anti-Proposition 45 television advertisement.

“The more that health insurers spend against it, the more voters turn against it,” said Jamie Court, Consumer Watchdog’s president and the author of Proposition 45.

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Robin Swanson, a spokeswoman for the No campaign, questioned the accuracy of the Internet poll and called its findings from online responses too old “to reflect where the electorate is on Proposition 45.”

Swanson also touted a strong criticism of Proposition 45 leveled by House of Representatives Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) as a boost for the No side. “If I wanted to kill the Affordable Care Act, I would do this,” Pelosi told the editorial board of the San Francisco Chronicle on Monday.

With less than a week left before the election, Swanson’s campaign has raised $57 million while the proponents reported $2.7 million, according to the Secretary of State’s office.

Twitter: @MarcLifsher


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