Californian voters rejected a controversial ballot measure that, if passed, would have given the state’s insurance commissioner the power to approve rate changes for individual and employer small-group plans. Proposition 45 failed with nearly 60% voting against it.

“Rejection of Prop 45 by Californians means that plan choices will remain robust and available with a high degree of certainty,” says John Greene, vice president of congressional affairs at the National Association of Health Underwriters, which was one of the top five contributors to the campaign against the measure. NAHU and other opponents said the ballot measure would have given one person too much power to regulate insurance rates.

Also see: “Understanding the national implications of CA’s controversial Prop 45”

The vote against Prop 45 is one example that the midterms showed U.S. citizens are against government overreach, says Perry Braun, executive director of the Benefit Advisors Network. “It runs counter to the American spirit of business,” he says.

Other races

Republicans will take control of both houses of Congress next year after securing at least 52 Senate seats in Tuesday’s election. Races in Alaska, Louisiana and Virginia were still too close to call Wednesday afternoon. Joel Kopperud, director of government affairs at the Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers, is also following the implications of governors’ races and other state races. “There’s a lot happening in the states right now with respect to exchange development and enrollment,” he says. “If exchanges are high risk populations, state governments are incentivized to get healthy people in there and discourage small groups from staying in the benefits business, and we’re already seeing legislation to limit who has access to self-insurance plans.”

The Illinois gubernatorial race caught the attention of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors because candidates campaigned on state tax code reform, says Gary Sanders, vice president of securities and state government relations. “NAIFA is concerned that such efforts could adversely affect the tax status of our industry’s products and services,” he says.

Sanders says NAIFA is also concerned about states such as Colorado and Maryland, which are conducting studies to determine the feasibility of a state-run retirement plan. “NAIFA and industry partners [are] strongly opposed,” he says. 

Thanks to Mike Rounds’ decisive win in South Dakota, the Senate will have its first licensed independent insurance agent in nearly two decades, says Nathan Reidel, vice president of political affairs at Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America.

“It’s helpful if the elected have an understanding of the insurance industry,” says NAIFA Vice President of Federal Government Relations Diane Boyle. “If not, we do our best to provide them with information and constituent resources to better understand the value of the insurance industry and the role our members play in assisting consumers.” 

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