In Case You Missed It: Sacramento Bee says TV ad from backers of drug contracting ballot measure “exaggerates”

SACRAMENTO – The Sacramento Bee today evaluated claims made in a TV ad from the “yes” sidein the drug contracting ballot measure, saying the ad “exaggerates” and “it leaves the viewer with the impression that it would apply to far more Californians than it actually would.”

The Bee’s analysis noted, “Even if you understand the measure to apply only to state government, you would be misled by the ad, because the initiative would not cover most of the drugs used by the roughly 10 million Californians in the Medi-Cal managed care program.”

You can read the review here.

The proposition only covers a handful of state government programs affecting barely 12% of Californians, including some state government workers and state prisoners. More than 88% of Californians are excluded – including patients served by Covered California, more than 10 million low-income people in the Medi-Cal program and 20 million Californians who have private health insurance.

Independent experts and HIV and hepatitis C advocacy groups which are neutral on the measure have raised concerns, noting:

  • The Legislative Analyst Office’s report to the legislature says: “The measure could endanger the supplemental rebates that (the State Department of Health Care Services) DHCS collects from drug manufacturers… In such circumstances, the measure could raise DHCS spending on prescription drugs.”
  • A recent CalPERS staff analysis warns the measure could result in “decreased access to certain drugs for CalPERS members.
  • Project Inform, the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, AIDS Project Los Angeles and the Los Angeles LGBT Center, groups serving people living with and affected by HIV and hepatitis C are officially neutral on the ballot measure, but have raised concerns about the initiative. In a policy paper analyzing the measure, they raise red flags:
    • “It is unclear whether the initiative would result in cost savings to the state
    • This initiative could actually increase the price of drugs in a number of public programs, including (AIDS Drug Assistance Program) ADAP, Medi-Cal, the VA, and California’s prison system.”
    • “The initiative does not include any provisions that would lower the cost of prescription drugs for consumers.

More than 70 patient advocacy, health, veterans, taxpayer, business, labor, and civil rights groups oppose this flawed measure.

  • Fourteen California veterans organizations, including the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Department of California; Vietnam Veterans of America California State Council; oppose the measure and warn it could jeopardize special discounts and increase prescription drug costs for veterans.
  • And the California Medical Association saysthe measure would result in a new bureaucratic prior approval process that could interfere with patient access to the medicines they need.”