California has embraced the Affordable Care Act and established a successful health care exchange that successfully cut the number of uninsured residents in half, from 22 percent to 11 percent. No state in the nation has benefitted more or is better positioned to take full advantage of the president's federal health care reforms.

Californians who want to further that work and make the state a national model for health coverage should re-elect Dave Jones as insurance commissioner. Jones, a former Sacramento assemblyman, retains a refreshing zeal for his work. He is a knowledgeable, respected politician who strongly supports the president's reforms and done everything within his power to rein in health insurance premiums.

He has for years been the No. 1 proponent of giving the insurance commissioner the power to reject inappropriate rate hikes, as 35 other states already allow. It's the issue Californians will decide in November when they vote on Prop 45. The philosophy behind the initiative is sound. The only issue is whether its implementation will create a timing conflict with the state health exchange's strict deadlines.

Jones' opponent, Republican state Sen. Ted Gaines of Roseville, has run a family insurance agency for the past 30 years, so he is well qualified for the office. It's his positions that should sent Californians scurrying to support Jones. Gainst not only opposed the Affordable Care Act, but he is also against the concept of Prop. 45, which should be a no-brainer in California.


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No one can accuse Gaines of being inconsistent. He is also fundamentally opposed to Prop. 103, the 1988 ballot measure that gave the commissioner the power to control car insurance rates. This, despite knowing the popular proposition halted the outrageous types of price increases Californians had experienced for more than a decade, saving drivers more than $1 billion.

Gaines believes that if insurers want to enact unfair rate increases, so be it. The strategy, he says, will encourage competitors to swoop in and offer lower rates, which will ultimately result in more choices for consumers and better rates.

We find that to be unlikely.

Californians saw where that approach leads during the auto insurance outrages that led to Prop. 103.

Jones supports the Affordable Care Act, but he also acknowledges the need for further reforms. He urges steps to increase the supply of doctors and medical care professionals to deal with the influx of newly insured into the system. He also wants measures to help control costs for young adults who struggle to pay for health care premiums.

Californians need to understand that with the exception of the governor, no other state official has more of an impact on their daily lives than the insurance commissioner. We recommend voters re-elect Dave Jones on Nov. 4.