Foes raise $92 million over two ballot measures

Led by medical insurers, opponents of two November ballot initiatives aimed at regulating insurance rates, raising the limits on pain-and-suffering awards and requiring doctors to be drug tested have raised nearly $92 million from their largest donors, according to figures compiled by the state’s political watchdog.

The figures show that among those donors, opponents are out-raising supporters by about 40-to-1.

Both measures, Propositions 45 and 46, are sponsored by Consumer Watchdog, an activist group that has targeted the insurance industry and authored voter-approved Proposition 103 of 1988, which created the office of a publicly elected insurance commissioner for the first time and regulated automobile and homeowners insurance rates, among other things.

Proposition 45 would give the state insurance commissioner authority to regulate the rates of health insurers, such as HMOs. Proposition 46 would raise the $250,000 cap on pain-and-suffering damages in medical malpractice lawsuits to about $1 million and require doctor drug testing.

The Fair Political Practices Commission reported that foes of Proposition 45 contributed $37.9 million to defeat the measure. Donations from the supporters of Proposition 45 were not listed because none of the support committees met the $1 million threshold.  According to financial disclosure records filed with the secretary of state, the main support committee has raised about $900,000, another about $415,000 and a third $78,000.

Among the opponents of Proposition 45, Foundation Health Plan has donated $14.7 million to defeat the measure, Wellpoint and its affiliates have donated $12.9 million, Blue Shield, $9.8 million; Health Net, $261,224; United Health Care Insurance, $156,22; California Association of Health Plans, $10,000 and California Hospitals Committee, $10,000.

On Proposition 46, opponents have raised more than $54 million, with more than $30 million coming from only three donors – the Cooperative of American Physicians, The Doctors Company and the Norcal Mutual Insurance Company – who donated about $10 million each, the FPPC said.

Three other donors contributed about $5 million each – the California Medical Association, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and The Hospitals, and the Medical Insurance Exchange of California.

Other top donors against Proposition 46 were the California Association of Hospitals and Health Systems, $2.5 million;  the California Hospitals Committee on Issues, $2.5 million; the California Dental Association, $2.05 million; and The Dentists Insurance Company, $1.62 million.

The 10 top supporters of Proposition 46, led by the Consumer Attorneys of California and some of the state’s top law firms, donated a total of $2.32 million.

The donations included $1.2 million from the Consumer Attorneys, $250,000 from the Robinson, Calcagnie, Robinson, Davis law firm in Newport Beach; $125,000 from Panish, Shea and Boyle in Los Angeles;  and the remaining top donors, all law firms, contributed between $100,000 and $115,000 each.

The FPPC, as required by a new state law that took effect July 1, identified the money from the top 10 contributors of at least $10,000 each to a single campaign committee that had raised $1 million or more to support or oppose a ballot measure.  The law was prompted by the infusion of out-of-state money into the 2012 elections, some $15 million in so-called “dark money” — $4 million in September 2012 and $11 million the following month — that was routed along a complex trail through out-of-state nonprofits. The donors were not fully disclosed, prompting a state investigation, fines and a settlement.

Contributions, expenditures and other informations for candidates and ballot propositions can be viewed here. The FPPC’s listing  is available here.


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