Field Poll

By Christopher Cadelago
ccadelago@sacbee.com
Published: Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014 – 12:00 am

A California initiative on the fall ballot requiring that health insurance rate changes be approved by the elected insurance commissioner is receiving strong support from voters statewide, according to the latest Field Poll.

Nearly 70 percent of registered voters back Proposition 45, while 16 percent say they would oppose it and 15 percent remain undecided ahead of the Nov. 4 election. Support came from 75 percent of Democrats, 73 percent of independents and 58 percent of Republicans.

Meanwhile, a separate initiative mandating random drug testing of doctors and quadrupling the state’s $250,000 limit on medical malpractice awards was out ahead by a smaller majority. Proposition 46, which also would compel doctors to consult a state drug history database before issuing certain prescriptions, is supported by 58 percent, opposed by 30 percent and has 12 percent undecided.

The survey comes ahead of what are expected to be two of the most expensive and hard-fought statewide campaigns of the election cycle. Proponents of the measures include the politically influential trial attorneys and consumer groups who argue more must be done to prevent steep health insurance rate increases and to deter negligence by making doctors accountable for their medical errors.

Opponents from the powerful medical and insurance industries argue the measures concentrate too much power under one politician and stand to financially benefit supporters at great expense to taxpayers.

Mark DiCamillo, director of the poll, cautioned not to read too much into the early results because the campaigns have yet to shift into high gear.

“The initial measure is devoid of any campaign arguments,” DiCamillo said. “My interpretation is here’s how they are answering: ‘Sounds like a good idea.’ ”

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