Issue would drive up prescription costs for small business
The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB)/Ohio, the state’s largest association representing small and independent business owners, announces its opposition to the Drug Price Relief Act ballot issue, better known as State Issue 2. Earlier in the month members of the NFIB/Ohio Leadership Council, heard from spokespersons on both sides of the issue at their quarterly meeting.
The announcement also follows a survey of the 25,000 members of NFIB across the state. The survey offered a description and both proponent and opponent arguments on the issue. In responding to the survey, the membership of NFIB in Ohio overwhelmingly opposed State Issue 2.
On the surface, Issue 2 can sound like a reasonable idea. It requires Ohio’s state government to contract for prescription drugs at the same prices paid by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). But dig deeper. The proposal is full of flaws and not rooted in the reality of how state government actually obtains medication.
Issue 2 applies only to state programs, the largest being Medicaid. For two out of three Ohioans, Issue 2 will do nothing to lower drug costs and could, in fact, raise costs and reduce access. Ohioans who use Medicare or private insurance are left out.
The affordability of healthcare continues to be seen by the NFIB membership as the number one issue in NFIB’s Problems & Priorities quadrennial survey and has been for the past 30 years. With State Issue 2 applying only to purchases by the state government and its agencies, many business owners see it as leaving out the other seven million Ohioans, leading to higher drug costs for them through their insurance coverage, due to cost shifting.
Issue 2 offers no detail critical to its implementation. As a result, it will likely to lead to more bureaucracy, red tape, and lawsuits.
We have joined the more than 80 trusted and respected Ohio organizations who oppose Issue 2. Groups representing nurses, doctors, pharmacists, veterans, patient advocates, faith and community groups, as well as business and labor groups carefully studied the issue, many hearing from the proponents too, and concluded Issue 2 is bad public policy.
In addition, Issue 2 has an unprecedented legal provision that requires Ohio taxpayers to pay the legal expenses of the four original petitioners, if they intervene in any litigation that may arise if Issue 2 is not implemented to the satisfaction of the proponents. This is a blank check to the proponents, who do have a history of litigation.
“Our membership is comprised of entrepreneurs who believe in the free market system, and government price fixing of drugs runs counter to that. State Issue 2 would almost certainly lead to higher costs for employers providing healthcare to their employees in the form of higher prescription costs as a consequence of passage,” said Roger Geiger, vice president and executive director of NFIB/Ohio.
To summarize, Issue 2 will not do what it promises. It applies only to state government, leaving out two of three Ohioans. More than 80 respected Ohio organizations oppose Issue 2. State policy experts say it won’t work. And finally, state taxpayers would be on the hook with a blank check to cover legal challenges from the proponents. Visit www.noonissue2.org for more information and please, vote NO on Issue 2.
Members of the NFIB/Ohio Leadership Council hear from both sides on State Issue 2 at their October meeting.