COLUMBUS, Ohio (WDTN) – Trying to untangle the complicated and controversial topic of Issue Two on November’s ballot is no easy task, especially when the rhetoric from both sides is so deeply entrenched.
For months, Dale Butland and Matt Borges have gone head to head on television and radio discussing why Ohioans should vote for or against the measure.
Their talking points have not changed much over the past few months, meanwhile television ads some call deceptive continue to confuse the public’s understanding of what Issue Two proposes to do.
In an attempt to cut through that rhetoric a public forum was held. Butland and Borges were invited to once again explain to voters in simple terms how the issue works and what it will do for them.
And as we have come to expect from politically charged issues, spins and pivots were used liberally.
New information did find its way into the discussion, however. Sprinkled throughout was talk of a fiscal analysis released Tuesday from the Governor’s Office of Budget and Management that ultimately found there to be “insufficient information to estimate savings.”
The vote yes campaign has continually claimed that passing Issue Two would save Ohioans $400 million. During the forum Borges even referenced some passages from the study that sounded as if they supported this position, such as this:
However, theoretically, if all the issues identified in this analysis were worked through to successfully implement issue 2, it is likely there would be some state savings.
As well as:
The other state entities and programs with prescription drug spending – OSU medical center, higher education institutions, state employee health benefits, workers’ compensation, institutional facilities, and CMH – are similar to one another in the amount of discounts and rebates they receive, which is far less than Medicaid. Thus, they generally appear to pay more that the VA pays for prescription drugs. So theoretically, if suppliers agreed to provide drugs currently purchased by the state and the VA at the lower VA prices, without any manufacturer response or implementation impediments, there could be savings in the millions of dollars.
However, he never clarified that such language carried with it significant caveats that made those savings unlikely.
The entire report can be read here.
Meanwhile, the vote no campaign continued field questions about where their funding comes from; predominantly major pharmaceutical companies.
It is clear the vote yes campaign is taking an approach that focuses on the voter’s opinion of pharmaceutical companies, using negative terms in describing them.
The vote no campaign wants voters to trust local opinions of medical professionals and newspapers, while painting a major financial backer of the vote yes campaign as an outsider trying to influence their vote.
In the end both sides were able to get their message out to the viewers.
Which message stuck, and if it clarified this convoluted issue, remains to be seen.