Issue 2: Will it save money? The state weighs in

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TOLEDO, Ohio (13abc Action News) - An ad produced by supporters of Issue Two, the Drug Price Relief Act up for vote in November, claims "Drug company bullies inflate prices, gouge us and no one stops them."

Toledo area voters have seen these ads. One woman told 13abc reporter Bill Hormann, "As soon as you see one to vote for, you see one not to vote for."

The group opposed, Ohioans Against the Deceptive Rx Ballot Issue, produced ads claiming, "Under Issue two, nearly two-thirds of Ohioans would pay more for their prescriptions."

Jeslin Bodi is a voter struggling to make sense of the arguments. "I read both of them and it's still confusing," she admits.

Ohio Taxpayers for Lower Drug Price says the state could save $400 million by buying prescription drugs at the same price the Department of Veterans Affairs pays.

Voter Judy Bashforth isn't buying that saying, "I've heard that but I'm not convinced."

Neither is Ohio's Office of Budget and Management. It released an analysis you can find at this website by copy and pasting:


The report found two big problems with the Issue Two claim:

First, OBM says you would not save money. The simple reason is, the VA's typical clients are men aged 45 and over who use a limited list of drugs.

But Ohio's various health plans benefit a diversity of patients-- including women and children-- who use a wider array of drugs.

Those different drugs would not be subject to lower prices mandated by passage of Issue Two, according to the report.

Second, the analysis determined you could pay more for some prescription drugs.

The OBMsays if drug companies have to cut prices on some drugs they could raise prices on others as an offset. That could actually increase what you pay for drugs you rely on.

The OBM also says savings to Medicaid are what it termed "plausible, but unlikely" because Medicaid prices are already at or near the VA's cost.

Voters worry price cuts only affect people on state provided insurance but price increases would hit everyone.

Herald Bodi says, "Everybody else gets a discount or a break people work for a living get are not getting nothing."

The two sides campaigning on Issue Two have spent $50 million on ads.

Three million Ohioans received health coverage through state-administered plans.

The OBM says there could be savings if drug companies agree not to raise prices.

But OBM says it cannot, with any accuracy, estimate any potential savings because of the uncertainty of how drug companies will respond to lowering their drugs prices.

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