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- California health insurance ballot measure gets dirty, literally
By Bob Herman6:45 pm, Oct. 24 |
The Proposition 45 debate is hitting the fan in California.
PHOTO: Consumer Watchdog
In less than two weeks, California voters will decide the fate of Proposition 45, a ballot measure allowing the state's insurance commissioner to approve or deny premium rate hikes proposed by health insurers. Consumer advocates made an unusual effort Thursday to persuade people—through the power of poop.
Health insurance policyholders, nurses and others who support Prop 45 went to the San Diego offices of Blue Shield of California to “deliver a pickup truck containing a ton of steer manure,” according to advocacy group Consumer Watchdog. The group did the same thing Oct. 14, attempting to deliver the droppings to Blue Shield's offices in El Segundo.
The stunt had a pretty clear message: “We're here to give back the BS that Blue Shield and the rest of the health insurance industry has been throwing at voters in the anti-Prop 45 advertising that lies about Prop 45's impact and hides the insurance companies' funding,” Carmen Balber, executive director of Consumer Watchdog, said in a release.
Blue Shield declined to comment on the manure delivery.
Health insurers have been the biggest funders in the Prop 45 debate, contributing roughly $42 million to the main opposition group as of Oct. 18, according to state documents. Blue Shield has given more than $12.3 million. And it appears the insurers' money is swaying public opinion.
In July, 69% of registered voters were in favor of approving the measure, compared to 16% who would likely vote against. But now Proposition 45 has the support of only 39% of voters, while 46% plan to vote no, according to an October poll from the Public Policy Institute of California (PDF).
Follow Bob Herman on Twitter: @MHbherman