For the second time in two years, insurance portability was defeated by referendum (No. 33) in California.  This time the margin of defeat was greater than the first time.  Numerous reasons have been speculated, but an article for InsuranceJournal.com postulates that two things conspired to bring doom to 2012’s proposition 33. 

It’s physical location on the ballot and the word billionaire.

To review, insurance portability is the ability of drivers to keep their good driving records with them even when switching insurance companies.  This sounds great, but there is a flip side.  If you have a break in coverage, you’re going to pay a lot more.  Consumer advocacy groups warned that this includes military members who drop coverage when serving their country overseas.  Overall, it was deemed to be a measure that will result in far higher rates for the poor in particular.

The election loss is blamed on the ballot question’s location next to proposition 32, which was a ballot measure backed by billionaires.  And so was proposition 33.  The owner of Mercury Insurance, himself a billionaire, put his own money into passing proposition 33.  The opponents to Prop 33, namely Consumer Watchdog, made the connection of billionaires trying to pass laws that will do nothing but line their pockets even further.  And they used this approach for both propositions.

Proposition 32 was an attempt by the ultra-conservative Koch Brothers to ban labor unions who are funded by payroll deductions, from giving to political campaigns.  That attempt failed as well.

Prop 17, the first effort to pass insurance portability in 2010, was defeated 52% to 48%.  This time (prop 33) was defeated 54.6% to 45.4.