Proposition 78 Supporters Outspend Proposition 79; Newspapers Make Recommendations
The campaign in favor of Proposition 78 and against Proposition 79 in the past two weeks has spent $3.8 million on 3,636 television spots, according to an analysis by HealthVote.org, the Contra Costa Times reports (Kleffman, Contra Costa Times, 10/22).
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 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, 10/20).
Those in support of Proposition 78 and against Proposition 79 have raised at least $80 million, more than any other ballot campaign in state history (Contra Costa Times, 10/22). The pharmaceutical industry is spending $30,000 for 30 seconds of airtime in some spots, the Sacramento Bee reports.
The campaign in favor of Proposition 78 has booked advertising spots throughout the election season and has paid $3,500 to run ads on a newscast with higher ratings, while it pays $1,350 at another newscast with lower ratings (Yamamura, Sacramento Bee, 10/24).
In comparison, Proposition 79 supporters have produced one ad, which has aired only on small cable television stations. The campaign in favor of Proposition 79 has raised $1.8 million, according to the Times.
"We know we're being outspent exponentially. But at the end of the day, all of those ads still have who's paying for them," said Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access California (Contra Costa Times, 10/22).
Summaries of recent editorials addressing the measures appear below.
Bakersfield Californian: An editorial recommended voting against both Propositions 78 and 79, stating that they are both too flawed. "The Legislature must do its job. If discounted drugs are a worthy public policy, it should enact a well-thought-out program and not duck tough issues that may offend one or another special interest and burden hard-pressed voters to do the Legislature's job," the editorial states (Bakersfield Californian, 10/20).
Summaries of recent opinion pieces addressing the measures appear below.
- Anthony Wright, Sacramento Bee: State residents should "stand up to the pharmaceutical industry and rein in high prescription drug costs," Wright writes in a Bee opinion piece recommending a "yes" vote on Proposition 79 (Wright, Sacramento Bee, 10/22).
- Michael Weinstein and Barbara Brenner, San Jose Mercury News: "For patients, Proposition 79 is the right choice," Weinstein, president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, and Brenner, executive director of Breast Cancer Action, write in a Mercury News opinion piece. Proposition 79 "offers the best chance to lower prescription drug costs so that millions of Californians can afford the medications they need," according to Weinstein and Brenner (Weinstein/Brenner, San Jose Mercury News, 10/24).
Additional information on Propositions 78 and 79 is available online. This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.