Voters confused on issue that could change prescription drug prices
COLUMBUS, Ohio —
Thousands of dollars in TV ads have gone on the air for Issue 2. The ballot initiative could dramatically change how much Ohioans pay for prescription drugs.
Issue 2 would require the state to buy prescription drugs at the same price as the VA. Veterans legally get a 24 percent discount. Supporters said that would allow the state to negotiate lower prices for the drugs it buys for people on state health care plans.
"Taxpayers are getting gouged," said Matt Borges with the Yes on Issue 2 campaign. "More and more of our tax dollars go directly to drug companies, doing things like funding schools, doing things like funding police departments."
The Yes campaign is backed by an AIDS nonprofit organization in California. That side said it could have a ripple effect helping other states, the federal government, and even private insurers as they demand more prices from pharmaceutical companies.
"This is an opportunity to stand up to them finally, stand up to their greed, and say, 'enough is enough. We're not spending more on this.'"
There is an organized campaign against Issue 2. That side said the ballot initiative oversimplifies a complicated issue.
"Most of us learned a long time ago the things that sound too good to be true usually are and that certainly the case here," said Dale Butland with the No on Issue 2 campaign.
The opposition has been backed by pharmaceutical companies. They said Medicaid patients already get a similar discount as veterans. They said both veterans and Medicaid patients could lose that discount.
"I've spent a good part of my adult life in the fight for affordable prescription drugs," Butland said. "I'm on the other side this year because this Bella proposal is bad public policy that won't work. You'll actually do the opposite of what it says."
The issue doesn't fall neatly on partisan lines. There are longtime Democrats and Republicans on both sides.
Voters will decide for themselves in November.