Endorsements Could Affect Vote on Drug Discount Measures
The San Francisco Chronicle on Thursday examined the effects that endorsements of Propositions 78 and 79 have on voters' opinions of the measures. According to the Chronicle, "[v]oters are confused" about the initiatives and might change their votes with knowledge of the measures' supporters (Colliver, San Francisco Chronicle, 10/13).
Proposition 78 would establish a voluntary prescription drug discount plan for state residents whose annual incomes do not exceed 300% of the federal poverty level. The measure is supported by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (California Healthline, 10/12). Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) has endorsed the measure, which is similar to legislation he supported in 2004 that did not get past committee hearings (San Francisco Chronicle, 10/13).
Proposition 79, a measure supported by Health Access California and a coalition of labor groups, would require drug makers to participate in a prescription drug discount program or face exclusion from the Medi-Cal formulary in some cases. To qualify, state residents' annual incomes could not exceed 400% of the federal poverty level. Under Proposition 79, people could sue a pharmaceutical company if they believe it is participating in illegal pricing practices (California Healthline, 10/12).
According to the Chronicle, a September Field Poll indicated that Proposition 78 was favored by a likely 49% of voters, compared with 42% who backed Proposition 79. However, when voters were told that the pharmaceutical industry is backing Proposition 78, 44% of respondents said they probably would change their vote to "no" (San Francisco Chronicle, 10/13).
KPCC's "AirTalk" on Wednesday as part of a series of broadcasts examining measures on the Nov. 8 special election ballot included a live discussion from the Chinatown branch of the Los Angeles Public Library on Propositions 78 and 79. Guests on the program included Matt Klink, spokesperson for the campaign in favor of Proposition 78, and Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access California (Mantle, "AirTalk," KPCC, 10/12). The complete segment is available online in RealPlayer.
Additional information on Propositions 78 and 79 is available online.