On Issue 2, Vote Yes For Lower Prescription Drug Prices

State Issue 2 is a simple, sound measure to reduce what Ohio’s government pays for prescription drugs. It’s good for those most in need, including people on Medicaid. It’s good for taxpayers, who are currently overpaying pharmaceutical companies by hundreds of millions of dollars per year.

If Ohio votes yes on Issue 2, drug companies will no longer be able to charge state agencies higher prices than they charge the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

That’s Issue 2. It’s a simple, modest measure that won’t directly affect many of us at all. It won’t affect Medicare enrollees, or those with private insurance. Prescription drug prices are out of control, however, and even pushing back in this limited way will save the public nearly $400 million every year.

Supporting Issue 2 is the common sense choice. If Issue 2 were in place now, repealing it would seem perverse. Why would we insist that our public agencies pay whatever price the pharmaceutical companies demand, instead of negotiating to save money? Right now that’s exactly what we do, and it needs to change.

Issue 2 will change that, for the better. Ohio’s Medicaid program and other agencies shouldn’t have to pay more than the VA pays. If we vote yes on Issue 2, they won’t have to.

The campaign against Issue 2 is designed to make this simple solution confusing, and we shouldn’t let it work. Medicare and private insurers have price agreements in place, independently, and pharmaceutical companies can’t suddenly change that. Drug research is largely performed by universities and other public institutions funded by our taxes. Lower profits for the drug companies won’t change that; in fact, big pharmaceutical companies can easily afford to trim their profits’ growth.

The language of Issue 2 is reasonable and customary. Ohio won’t pay one cent on attorney fees unless our Attorney General completely refused to defend the state’s own law. Issue 2 is supported by local people right here in Ohio, including in Lakewood. Don’t allow the slick TV ads to distract us from the truth.

The charitable Aids Healthcare Foundation has helped fund the campaign, as part of their mission to make needed drugs more affordable. Issue 2 has some national endorsements, including from Senator Bernie Sanders, because it offers a model for progress that other states can follow.

Statewide, the Yes campaign is made up of local people and organizations; the Ohio Academy of Family Physicians, Cleveland NAACP and Northern Ohio Breast Cancer Coalition all support Issue 2. Lakewood resident Tristan Rader is leading the local campaign effort, and talking with seniors and others at events throughout our city. I encourage anyone interested in learning more about Issue 2 to contact him and ask questions: twrader@gmail.com or 440-315-2852.

The best response to confusing TV ads is to empower yourself with information. Please do so, then Vote Yes on Issue 2, and empower Ohio to rein in prescription drug expenses.

Michael Skindell

State Senator. Michael Skindell, an attorney and former Ohio Assistant Attorney General, has represented the citizens of Lakewood as a Councilperson at Large and State Legislator for more than 12 years.

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Volume 13, Issue 19, Posted 5:13 PM, 10.03.2017