False Statements in Paid TV and Mail by Vote Yes on Issue 2 Campaign
Attorneys for the Cleveland Clinic accused the Yes campaign of falsely claiming in a flyer mailed to 2 million Ohio households that the Clinic and CEO, Dr. Toby Cosgrove, endorse and support passage of Issue 2 (See stories from the Akron Beacon Journal and The Plain Dealer.) The letter demands that the campaign “cease immediately,” and further demands that the Yes campaign send a retraction and apology for the misrepresentation to all Ohio households that received the flyer. Clinic lawyers warned that failure to comply would lead to legal remedies against the campaign’s “unlawful action.”
In a separate development, attorneys for the No campaign sent a letter to all Ohio television stations late Wednesday asking them to immediately stop airing a “blatantly false and misleading” Yes side ad which asserts that Issue 2 “will cut taxes by $400 million” and give Ohio “the lowest known prices” for prescription drugs. Both claims are not only untrue but are clearly contradicted by the Issue 2 ballot language itself. Tax cuts, for example, are nowhere referenced in Issue 2.
That Issue 2 proponents—and the California health care CEO bankrolling the ballot initiative—would resort to these kinds of tactics is hardly a surprise, however. In fact, Michael Weinstein and his AHF organization did the exact same thing earlier this year in another Weinstein-backed ballot issue campaign in California known as “Measure S.”
Specifically, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti accused Weinstein and AHF of “dirty tricks” after they used the Mayor’s image in campaign materials to imply that he supported Measure S. In fact, the Mayor strongly opposed it.
Similarly, the Los Angeles Times had to run an editorial reaffirming its strong opposition to Measure S after Weinstein & Co. distributed fliers containing out-of-context quotes which implied that the paper supported it.
Finally, the LA County Sheriff’s Department was forced to file a cease and desist complaint against Weinstein’s campaign after it distributed fliers made to look like eviction notices implying that the Sheriff would evict people from their homes if Measure S was defeated.
Despite these multiple untruths, Measure S was defeated in a landslide.
Proponents of Issue 2 have been deceptive from the beginning. Deliberate deceit is now at the center of their messaging, and the falsehoods continue to accumulate as they become more desperate in the closing weeks of the campaign.
OHIO OBM REPORT ON ISSUE 2
Columbus, OH – As required by law, Ohio Budget Director Timothy Keen has filed a fiscal analysis with the Ohio Secretary of State regarding State Issue 2 on this November’s statewide ballot.
The following statement about the analysis is attributable to Dale Butland, Communications Director, Ohioans Against the Deceptive Rx Ballot Issue.
“The Ohio Budget Director’s analysis confirms that Issue 2 is fundamentally flawed and, if passed by voters, would not achieve the taxpayer savings repeatedly claimed by Issue 2 sponsors.
“As the analysis confirms, Issue 2 is unworkable because its core requirement ¾ that the state pay no more for drugs than the lowest price paid by the federal Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) ¾ can’t be implemented because final prices negotiated by the VA with drug makers are confidential and not publicly available.
“The Ohio Budget Director reports that savings from Issue 2 are ‘unlikely’ in Ohio’s largest impacted program, Medicaid, which serves 3.1 million Ohioans and accounts for the lion’s share of state drug purchases. The OBM analysis points out that due to federal mandates and further negotiations at the state level, ‘Medicaid programs across the country are paying prices for prescription drugs that may already be as low or lower on average than what the VA pays.’
“The OBM analysis also notes that, unlike the VA, Ohio distributes drugs through retail pharmacies, and that Issue 2 fails to account for dispensing fees that need to be paid to pharmacies.
“As our Vote No Coalition has said from the beginning of our campaign this spring, when something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Issue 2 is simplistic, unworkable and built on a flawed foundation. It therefore can’t and won’t achieve anything remotely close to the wild savings estimates touted by Issue 2 proponents. Further, Issue 2 could very well increase costs for a majority of Ohio consumers, while reducing access to needed medicines for some of our most vulnerable citizens.
“The official OBM analysis confirms that Issue 2 is too risky, too costly, and unworkable. That’s why more than 80 Ohio organizations representing doctors, nurses, pharmacists, hospitals and so many others who care about the health and well-being of Ohioans are opposing Issue 2, and it’s why Issue 2 is opposed by the editorial pages of every daily newspaper in Ohio that has expressed a formal position.”