Feinstein Supports Proposition 79, Opposes Proposition 78
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) supports Proposition 79 and opposes Proposition 78 and will participate in efforts to defeat a number of ballot measures on the Nov. 8 special election ballot endorsed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R), the AP/Sacramento Bee reports (AP/Sacramento Bee, 10/14).
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.
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. State residents who spend more than 5% of their annual income on health care would be eligible to participate in Proposition 79's drug discount program. In addition, people could sue a pharmaceutical company if they believe it is participating in illegal pricing practices (California Healthline, 10/14).
The Los Angeles Daily News on Friday published articles explaining the arguments in favor of and against Proposition 78. The Daily News on Saturday published articles examining the arguments for and against Proposition 79.
Propositions 78 and 79 "are flawed" and California voters should reject both ballot initiatives, a Sacramento Bee editorial states.
Proposition 78 is flawed because "for any 'voluntary' approach to succeed, the Legislature would have to be in charge, not the drug companies," the editorial states. Meanwhile, "Proposition 79 threatens to make it harder for [some] Medi-Cal patients to obtain certain drugs if the companies that make the drugs don't lower their prices for the uninsured," according to the editorial, which adds that the "real winners, most likely, would be lawyers" who could file civil action against drug companies under a provision of Proposition 79.
The editorial states, "There is realistic hope that the Legislature might actually take action if these measures are defeated" (Sacramento Bee, 10/14).
Additional information on Propositions 78 and 79 is available online.