Newspapers Examine Advertisement Addressing Ballot Measures Supported by Schwarzenegger
The AP/San Francisco Chronicle on Tuesday published an analysis of a television commercial by Courage Campaign, a spinoff group from the political advocacy organization Moveon.org, that recommends that state residents vote against Propositions 73 and 78 on the Nov. 8 special election ballot, as well as other initiatives supported by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R). The ad links the governor and the measures he endorses to President Bush's agenda (Chorneau, AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 11/1).
Proposition 73 would amend the state constitution to require health care providers to inform a parent or guardian 48 hours before performing an abortion on an unmarried minor. Under the measure, a girl could seek a judicial bypass and would receive no-cost legal counsel, a confidential hearing and a ruling within three days on whether she could receive an abortion without notifying her parents (California Healthline, 10/26).
Proposition 78, which is supported by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, would establish a voluntary prescription drug discount plan for state residents whose annual incomes do not exceed 300% of the federal poverty level (California Healthline, 10/27).
According to the AP/Chronicle analysis, "Linking the governor's ballot agenda and the goals of the Bush administration is a stretch" because "many of the governor's positions on social and environmental issues run counter to Bush's," including his stance on abortion and stem cell research. In addition, the AP/Chronicle notes that although Schwarzenegger has endorsed Propositions 73 and 78, neither is "part of his political agenda."
The AP/Chronicle analysis includes a transcript of the ad (AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 11/1).
The Sacramento Bee also published an analysis of the ad on Tuesday. According to the Bee analysis, the ad "hopes to capitalize on polling that shows Bush unpopular with California voters" (Sanders, Sacramento Bee, 11/1).
In related news, spending by PhRMA on the advertising campaign to defeat Proposition 79 and promote Proposition 78 has surpassed $75 million, setting a new record for California ballot initiative spending, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. By contrast, consumer groups that promote Proposition 79 have not raised enough money for any television ads (Marelius, San Diego Union-Tribune, 10/30).
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 also 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, 10/27).
According to the Union-Tribune, many of PhRMA's ads do not mention the consumer groups' initiative, "lending credence to the theory that the industry is more interested in sowing enough confusion to sink both measures than in passing its own plan" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 10/30).
Summaries of a recent opinion piece and editorial addressing health-related measures on the special election ballot appear below.
- Elizabeth Imholz, San Francisco Examiner: Although pharmaceutical companies "have flooded the airwaves with campaign commercials to try to confuse voters about" Propositions 78 and 79, "there shouldn't be any confusion about which measure will do more to help bring down soaring prescription drug costs," Imholz, executive director of the West Coast office of Consumers Union, writes in an Examiner opinion piece. According to Imholz, "Proposition 79 is the real solution to help Californians struggling to fill their prescriptions" because "[e]ven if the voluntary program under Prop. 78 worked, only about half as many people would be eligible for discounts under the drug companies' proposal compared to Prop. 79" (Imholz, San Francisco Examiner, 10/31).
- Chico Enterprise-Record: "A good general rule on special-interest initiatives is to simply vote 'no,'" an Enterprise-Record editorial states. Both Propositions 78 and 79 "vow to cut the cost of prescription drugs -- a worthy objective" -- but both "are flawed," according to the editorial. With regard to Proposition 73, the editorial states that "a law mandating that teenagers communicate with their parents seems frivolous" (Chico Enterprise-Record, 10/30).
KPBS' "KPBS News" on Monday reported on Proposition 73. The segment includes comments from Benjamin Lopez, a lobbyist for the Traditional Values Coalition (Goldberg, "KPBS News," KPBS, 10/31). The complete transcript is available online. The complete segment is available online in RealPlayer.
Additional information on Propositions 73, 78 and 79 is available online.