Consumer Watchdog, the non-profit group behind Proposition 45, is firing back at House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi over her opposition to the measure.
The proposition would give the state's insurance commissioner the power to reject excessive rate hikes for health insurance. In an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle's editorial board this week, Pelosi warned that the measure would disrupt Covered California, the state's insurance exchange established under the Affordable Care Act.
"If I wanted to kill the Affordable Care Act, I would do this," Pelosi told the Chronicle.
Consumer Watchdog responded in a letter to Pelosi blasting her remarks.
In the letter, Harvey Rosenfield, the group's founder, complains that Pelosi did not call him beforehand.
"If you had called," he writes, "we could have saved you the embarrassment of regurgitating nearly verbatim the ridiculous arguments made by the health insurance companies in their desperate campaign to protect their excessive profits against rate regulation."
Rosenfield goes on to defend intervenor fees, the provision in Proposition 45 that would compensate consumer groups — like Consumer Watchdog — that successfully challenge rate hikes.
"Providing California consumers with protection against unjustified health insurance rate increases will not 'undermine' the Affordable Care Act... to the contrary, it will save it," Rosenfield writes.
Proposition 45 has split the Democratic Party between those who see the measure as a threat to the Affordable Care Act and those who see it as a necessary improvement. Though Pelosi opposes the initiative, the California Democratic Party supports it, as does Sen. Barbara Boxer.
In an interview, Jamie Court, the president of Consumer Watchdog, said the timing of Pelosi's remarks suggests that the opposition is "worried."
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"Nancy Pelosi has never paid for her own health insurance," Court said. "She’s one of the richest members of Congress. She doesn't understand how difficult it is for people who don’t get subsidies to pay for their health insurance."
"This is why the Democrats lost Congress — they gave up on the middle class," he said.