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Nov 05

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Ohio Issue 2 on Prescription Drug Pricing – Important Information for Election November 7, 2017

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Many Conservatives have significant reservations about Ohio Issue 2, which deals with the pricing of prescription drugs, and it is important for all voters to be informed! The information below was compiled by Dennis Crouch, President of the Greene County Tea Party:

 

Background:  The Ohio Issue 2 is essentially the same initiative that appeared on California’s November 2016 ballot under Proposition 61.  Proposition 61 was designed to restrict the amount that any state agency could pay for drugs, tying it to the price paid by the VA.  A difference is that prop 61 would have exempted Medicaid managed care plan from drug price regulations, whereas, Ohio Issue 2 will not.  California voters rejected the measure – 53% to 47%.
 –  As of October 4, 2017, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation was responsible for 99.9% of the campaign’s funds in favor of Issue 2, a total of $6.2 M.  
 –  The “Ohioans Against the Deceptive Rx Ballot Issue, LLC (a wholly owned subsidiary of Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America)” were responsible for 100% of the campaign funds opposed to Issue 2, a total of $16.2 M.
Ballot Title:  The official ballot title is as follows:
Issue 2
Proposed Law
Propsed by Initiative Petition
To enact Chapter 194 of the Ohio Revised Code
A majority Yes vote is necessary for the law to pass.
YES
            SHALL THE PROPOSED LAW BE ADOPTED?
NO 
To enact Chapter 194 of the Ohio Revised Code:
–  Require the State of Ohio, including it’s state departments, agencies and entities, to not pay more for prescription drugs than the price paid by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.
–  Establish that the individual petitioners  responsible for proposing the law have a direct and personal stake in defending the law, require the State to pay petitioners’ reasonable attorney fees and other expenses; require the petitioners to pay $10,000 to the State if the law is held by a court to be unenforceable and limit petitioners’ personal liability to that amount; and require the Attorney General to defend the law if challenged in court.
          —————————— —————————— —————————— ————–
PLEASE READ BOTH SIDES OF THIS ISSUE PRESENTED BELOW:
1. YES (Supporters, Organizations and Arguments):
 –   Officials include:  U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, Vermont; Ohio Senator – Cecil Thomas and two Ohio Representatives – Bill Patmon and Teresa Fedor; Mayor of Cincinnati, and 6 City Council members of large cities.
 –   Former officials include:  U.S. Senator Max Cleland (D-Georgia/ former administrator of VA; U.S. Rep. Denis Kucinich (D-Ohio 10); 3 other former Ohio Legislative Representatives.
 –   Political Parties include:  Seneca County and Butler county Democrat Parties and Democrats of Cuyahoga County and Cleveland Stonewall Democrats.
 –  Organizations include:  (9 organizations) the AIDS Healthcare Foundation and it’s subsidiary of Cleveland and Columbus, and 6 other (1 Nurse, 2 Dental, 2 Physician organizations; 1 NAACP org. and “Our Revolution” a progressive activist organization.
 –  Individuals include:  Michael Weinstein, President of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, Matt Borges, former Chairman of the Ohio Republican Party. and Robert Ruff, Chairman of the Medical Scientific Advisory board of the Myasthenia Gravis Foundation.
Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS healthcare Foundation, stated:  “While we’ve seen ample evidence that there is seemingly no limit to the corporate greed of pharmaceutical companies, we also know that Americans are tired of feeling afraid every time they go to the doctor or it’s time to get a prescription filled.  Astronomical prescription drug costs prices hurt everyone – except the drug makers’ bottom lines.  This has got to stop.”
Tracy Jones, Executive Director of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, stated:  “Americans continue to express their deep concerns about the explaoding costs of health care and prescription drugs.  For people with chronic conditions including HIV, hepatitis and cancer who depend on their medications to stay alive, the urgent need to control high drug costs is more pressing than just a campaign slogan or simple policy discussion..”
Don McTigue, attorney for the initiative’s sponsors stated:  “The other thing is, of course, it would benefit all taxpayers, because the State would be spending less.  (Please read through entire email to learn facts about this).  So there’s an indirect benefit to taxpayers.  The State could spend less on prescription drugs, or the State could buy more prescription drugs.  It would free up some substantial money that the State could use for other programs.”
Ohio Taxpayers for Lower Drug Prices critized the opposition campaign and contributors to the opposition campaign, stating in part:  “The drug industry is one of the nation’s biggest and most powerful political money machines.  In 2016 the industry made $27.5 million in campaign contributions to Senate and House candidates.
In 2016 three dozen drug companies chipped in more than $110 million to the campaign to defeat Proposition 61, the California version of the drug relief act.  Despite being outspent by more than 5 to 1, Prop 61 lost by (53% to 47%).  The drug companies don’t have right on their side but they do have the money.”
2. “NO” (OPPONENTS, ORGANIZATIONS AND ARGUMENTS):
Coalitions/Organizations:
     
The opposition campaign listed 76 organizations as “coalition partners” that oppose Issue 2.  (They are individually listed at the end of this email).
The opposition campaign consists of doctors, nurses, health associations, veterans, pharmacists, employers, Chambers of Commerce and as you will see from the listing many more.  To name just a few here:  the American Academy of Pediatrics (OH), Academy of Medicine of Cincinnati & Cleveland & Northern Ohio, Greater Dayton Area Hospital Association, Ohio Nurses Association and the Ohio Pharmacy Association.  Veterans Organizations include AMVETS Dept. of Ohio.  The Ohio Farm Bureau, the Ohio Fire Chiefs Association, The Buckeye Institute, etc.,etc.
Individuals Opposed:
–  John McCarthy, former State Medicaid Director
–  Barbara Edwards, former State Medicaid Director
–  Maureen Corcoran, former State Medicaid Director
–  Chris Goff, CEO and General Counsel for Employers Health
 Political Parties Opposed:
– Stonewall Democrats of Central Ohio
Arguments Against Issue 2:
Posted on Ohio Dept. of State Website –  “Vote NO on Issue 2″  – Submitted by Ohioans Against the Deceptive Rx Ballot Issue Committee:  COSTLY, DECEPTIVE, UNWORKABLE.”
“COSTLY”
– Ohio doctors, nurses, pharmacists and hospitals oppose the ballot issue because it could actually increase costs for the 7 million Ohioans (nearly 2/3 of our population) who are left out, INCLUDING those with private insurance and those who rely on Medicare or otherwise do not obtain medications through State programs. Basically this bill is to provide for 1/3 of the population of Ohio and the expense of the remaining 2/3.
 – Military Veterans could also pay more for prescription drugs.
 – Three Ohio Medicaid directors who served in both Democrat and Republican administrations and a State Budget Direcort warn that this ballot issue could reduce patient ACCESS to medications.
  – An unprecedented provision gives ballot sponsors a BLANK CHECK by allowing them to intervene in any legal challenges and REQUIRES TAXPAYERS to pay their attorney fees, win or lose.  Two thirds of Ohioans would not only have higher drug costs to help pay for this amendment, but would be taxed to cover attorney and court fees that will arise if Issue 2 is passed. 
“DECEPTIVE”:
 –   An Ohio Budget Director says the claim that the ballot initiative would sve $400 million annually is “simply false”  and based on an assumption that Ohio does not already receive substantial prescription discounts.  In fact, Ohio’s Medicaid program receives federally mandated and voluntarily negotiated discounts that bring its costs down to levels similar to those of the VA.
 –   Ohio Medicaid directors warn the ballot issue could invalidate existing drug discount agreements – potentially increasing the State’s prescription costs by tens of millions of dollars annually.
“UNWORKABLE”:
 –   Health care experts say requiring Ohio to purchase drugs at the lowest price paid by the VA would
be impossible to implement because, by law, the VA does not disclose this price.
 –  The ballot issue contains no language guiding implementation – and was proposed by a controversial California health care CEO without consulting any Ohio officials tasked with implementation – which will lead to bureaucratic in-fighting, delays, lawsuits and higher cost for taxpayers.
Stand up for Ohio.  Join doctors, nurses, veterans, business and labor:  
VOTE “NO” on ISSUE 2
  
www.deceptiverxissue.org  /  NoOnIssue2.org
Priscilla VanderVeer, spokesperson for PhRMA, said:
“The proposal lacks operational guidelines, disregards the State’s current drug purchasing and discount practices, and could negatively impact non-state pharmacy programs, including those that serve veterans…(The measure) would dramatically disrupt the system that serves those who depend on state programs for medicine.”
Jenny Camper also speaking on behalf of PhRMA, the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, and the Ohio Manufacturers’ Association, said:  “The proposal was “unworkable, offers zero implementation guidance and would create a long-term quagmire of bureaucratic red tape and litigation.”
LASTLY, the proponents of Issue 2 have stated that they estimate a minimal annual cost savings of $400 M.  How the proponents arrived at this estimate is not clear – an analysis was accomplished by Greg Browning, President of Capital Partners – public policy and management strategy focused consultancy, Columbus Ohio.  From 1991 0 1998 Mr. Browning was the Dir. of Ohio Office of Budget and Management and Senior Policy Advisor to the Governor of Ohio.
The following is from the conclusion of his report: 
CONCLUSION:
“Proponents of the Ohio Drug Price Relief Act appear to have created an annual drug cost savings estimate of $400 M both by:  1)  ignoring the significant discounts Ohio currently receives on prescription drugs and…. 2) by using the faulty logic involving the most basic of relevant policy and fiscal realities.  They (the proponents) have assumed that at least a 20% cut to approximately $2 B ($1.5 B Medicaid and $500 M in non-Medicaid) in prescription drug expenditures produces $400 M in savings…..YET they have made this calculation without taking into consideration the profound fact that these Ohio prescription drug expenditures, which involve 3 million Ohio Medicaid recipients and about 1 million other impacted citizens, already reflect mandatory and negotiated discounts that already rival drug prices paid by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
In short, the proponents claim that passing (Issue 2) would result in $400 million in annual savings is simply false and without merit.”
PRIMARY SOURCES FOR THIS BRIEFING:
1.  “Ballotpedia.org.” – online encyclopedia of American politics and elections.  Their goal is to inform people about politics by providing accurate and objective information about politics at all levels of government.  They are firmly committed to neutrality.
2  Ohio Department of State website:
    a.  Vote NO on Issue 2 published on the Ohio State website and submitted by Ohioans Against the Deceptive Rx Ballot Issue Committee.
    b.  Ballot Title for the Official Ballot
LIST OF ORGANIZATIONS AGAINST BALLOT ISSUE 2 – ‘NO’ on Issue 2
American Academy of Pediatrics, Ohio Chapter
American Congress of Obstretricians and Gynecologists – Ohio
Academy of Medicine of Cincinnati
The Academy of Medicine of Cleveland & Northern Ohio
Butler County Medical Society
Caracole, Inc.
Equitas Health Healing Hearts of Central Ohio
Mended Hearts
Mental Health America of Franklin County
National Alliance on Mental Illness of Ohio
National Community Pharmacists Association
Ohio Affiliate of Prevent Blindness
Ohio Association of County Behavioral Health Authorities
Ohio Children’s Hospital Association
The Ohio Council of Behavioral Health & Family Service Providers
Ohio Foot and Ankle Medical  Association
Ohio Hematology Oncology Society
Ohio Hospital Association
Ohio Pharmacists Association
Ohio Psychiatric Physicians Association
Ohio Sickle Cell and Health Association
Ohio Society for Health System Pharmacists
Ohio State Medical Association
Prevention Action Alliance
ACT Ohio – Ohio’s Affiliated Construction Trades
Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce
Darke County Chamber of Commerce
Dayton Regional Chamber of Commerce
Employers Health Purchasing Corp.
Greater Medina Chamber of Commerce
Lima/Allen County Chamber of Commerce
Ohio Alliance for Civil Justice
Ohio Chamber of Commerce
The Ohio Council of Retail Merchants
Ohio Farm Bureau Federation
Ohio Grocers Association
Ohio Manufacturer’s Association
Ohio State Grange
Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturer’s of America
Toledo Area Small Business Association
Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce
Ohio AMVETS State Department
The American Legion, Dept. of Ohio
American Veterans Dept. of Ohio (AMVETS)
Catholic War Veterans, Dept. of Ohio
Concerned Veterans of America
Dept. of Ohio Marine Corps League
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America
Italian American War Veterans, Ohio Post 34
Jewish War Veterans, Dept. of Ohio
Korean War Veterans Association, Dept. of Ohio
Military Officers Association  of America, Ohio Council of Chapters
Military Order of the Purple Heart, Dept. of Ohio
Ohio National Guard Enlisted Association
Ohio National Guard Association
Ohio State Association of County Veterans Service Commissioners
Ohio State Association of County Veterans Service Officers
The REtired Enlisted Association
VFW, Dept. of Ohio
Tom Moe, Colonel, USAF – Retired
Victor Wilson, Veterans Advocate
Columbus Branch – NAACP
BioOne
Biotechnology Innovation Organization
Ohio Fire Chief’s Association 
The Interdenominational  Ministerial Alliance of Columbus and Vicinity
The Buckeye Institute
PERI, Public Employee Retirees, Inc.

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