Issue 2 bad legislation

To the editor:

Proponents of state Issue 2 are spending millions on slick TV ads, and the only thing both sides agree on is that two-thirds of Ohioans’ current RX expenditures are excluded from the process. Ohio Medicaid, Ohio’s five pension systems and all state government departments are the overwhelming RX consumers with local governments and school districts topping it off.

Let’s cut through the rhetoric and deal with provable facts. The whole premise of their pitch is Ohio taxpayers will save $400 million annually. But the bill, as written, is silent on where savings (if any) will go. It’s like the county clerk of courts saving or earning money, but the commissioners spending it where they see fit. You give the governor an additional $400 million, and he’ll either spend it or put it in his rainy day fund.

First, let’s be clear that our veterans have earned and continue to receive some of best medical care, including RX cost free for their service- connected disability. But as of Feb. 27, 2016, if their VA doctor prescribes medication not related to their disability, they will be charged a co-pay of $15 for a 90-day supply of any Tier 1 drug; Tier 2, $24; and Tier 3, $33.

Transparency is a wonderful thing, so let’s do some comparative shopping to find the source of the purported savings. It’s worth noting that in 2016, the Veterans Administration’s comprehensive RX system processed 330,000 parcels per work day and had total expenditures of $3.4 billion, including $3 billion for medications and supplies, $128 million for personnel and $223 million for mail. Ohio Medicaid, on the other hand, didn’t buy or warehouse one single pill and simply told the pharmacy how much it would pay, take it or leave it. Chain stores can absorb it, but independent pharmacies take a beating.

Here are personal Tier 1 examples: Simvastin 40 miligrams, 90-day supply that’s mailed to me, zero co-pay. For the identical drug, Ohio Medicaid pays the pharmacist $3.33, plus a $3 co-pay, and the veteran pays a $15 co-pay. Ramipril 5 miligrams, 90 days — I pick up and pay a $7.50 co-pay, Ohio Medicaid pays $7.29, plus $3 co-pay, and a veteran pays a $15 co-pay. It seems to me the veteran would get a better deal with the state. It begs the question of where the $400 million savings is going to come from? Kind of reminds me of the old “Where’s the beef?” commercial.

My wife, Eileen, and I have been reading legislation since 1987, and it pains us to know that if Issue 2 passes, the millionaire from California who wrote the bill which reads like a cheap infomercial would be memorialized into the Ohio Revised Code. And this guy stands to make a personal fortune from it. Play it safe and trust the adage “If the promise of reward sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” Don’t fall for it — vote no on State Issue 2.

Jerry Krupinski

Steubenville

(Editor’s note: Krupinski and his wife are former state legislators.)

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