Columbus Chamber of Commerce opposes Issue 2

Columbus Chamber
The Columbus Chamber provides connections, resources and solutions that help small businesses and Fortune 500 enterprises grow Central Ohio's economy.

After great consideration, the Columbus Chamber of Commerce urges our members to vote no on Issue 2.

As a core principle of its Public Policy Agenda, the Columbus Chamber supports a competitive marketplace that fosters a thriving business environment. Issue 2 would set an artificial price for prescription drug purchases by the state of Ohio, which runs counter to a free market economy.

It could also open the floodgates for price fixing for any other industry or product in the future – a slippery slope with dangerous consequences that threaten an open market system.

Predictability and stability are crucial for businesses to effectively plan for their future success. Issue 2 leaves out the seven million Ohioans who are covered through private insurance (primarily though employers), which could result in higher health care premiums and out-of-pocket costs, adding to the already considerable uncertainty and angst related to the unresolved debate on federal health care reform.

Issue 2, an initiated statute labeled the “Ohio Drug Price Relief Act,” will appear on the November 2017 statewide ballot under the following title:

“To require state agencies to not pay more for prescription drugs than the federal Department of Veterans Affairs and require state payment of attorney fees and expenses to specific individuals for defense of the law.”

An initiated statute gives Ohioans the opportunity to vote on whether to add a proposed law to the Ohio Revised Code.

In formulating its position, the Chamber surveyed its full membership to gauge interest and impact, in which 83% of respondents said they would “vote no.” The proponent and opponent campaigns presented to the Government Affairs Steering Committee (GASC), which digested the information to understand the effect of the proposal on small and midsize businesses. The GASC made a formal recommendation to the Chamber’s full board of directors, which voted on a final position on September 7, 2017.

“While the Columbus Chamber would be willing to engage in a discussion about the price of prescription drugs, we do not believe the proponent campaign represents the interests of our members in leading that conversation,” said Don DePerro, president and CEO of the Columbus Chamber of Commerce.

Another tenet of the Public Policy Agenda opposes legal requirements that increase cost, reduce consumer choice, and hamper innovation. The Chamber believes this proposal is poorly written, and due to an unprecedented litigation provision that would give the sponsors of the initiative the right to intervene, could likely result in lengthy and costly litigation which the state of Ohio would be required to defend and the taxpayers would be required to fund, no matter the cost.

The Columbus Chamber of Commerce joins with many of our partner organizations in the business community in urging our members to vote NO on Issue 2.