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Issue 2 would hurt Ohioans by cutting access to drugs


Published: Sun, October 29, 2017 @ 12:00 a.m.

Issue 2 would hurt Ohioans by cutting access to drugs

On Nov. 7, vote “no” on state Issue 2. This ballot issue focuses on just a symptom of our fractured health care system, not the real disease.

If this ballot issue passes, it will affect roughly 10 percent of the prescriptions in the state of Ohio, specifically the vulnerable state Medicaid patients. Proponents of this bill suggest it will lower costs for these patients by utilizing U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) pricing.

The challenge is no one knows what the VA’s lowest price really is, as there are numerous rebates involved. It will require a seven-figure analysis just to ascertain the correct price.

In addition, this has the potential of reducing VA discounts and rebates, negatively impacting the cost for our veterans, who have given everything for our country in order to protect our freedom.

This ballot issue mandates that pharmacies essentially sell medications to our state Medicaid patients for 50 cents, while purchasing the drug for a dollar. This business model will force pharmacies to not accept state Medicaid, thereby severely limiting patient access to needed medications. Again this will limit patient access.

If pharmacies do participate, the likelihood is that Big Pharma will increase pricing on every other prescription. How does this help control health care costs?

There is no doubt that our health care system is broken, but this ballot issue is neither the answer nor a starting point of fixing this problem.

Garry L. Mrozek, Poland

Garry L. Mrozek is CEO of Hometown Pharmacy Solutions.

Do your part to assist all residents of nursing homes

October has been Residents’ Rights Month, a time designated by the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care to honor residents living in long-term care facilities. This is an opportunity to focus on and celebrate the dignity, respect and rights of each resident.

As guaranteed in the federal Nursing Home Reform Law, emphasis is placed on individual dignity, choice, and self-determination. The law also requires nursing homes to “promote and protect the rights of each resident.” October is meant to raise awareness of and celebrate long-term care residents. This year’s theme is: “All About Me: My Life, My Care, My Choices.”

During this time, we also recognize Area Agency on Aging 11’s Long-term Care Ombudsman Program, staff, and volunteers, who tirelessly advocate for excellence in care, residents’ choices, and quality in their lives. Ombudsmen visit nursing homes and other long-term care facilities in Ashtabula, Columbiana, Mahoning, and Trumbull counties.

In the first three weeks of October, the Ombudsman Program has received 60 new complaints, such as personal hygiene, missing items, abuse, and food choices.

You can help to bring a voice to nursing home residents by visiting a long-term care facility, volunteering, or becoming a Volunteer Ombudsman associate.

We welcome you to join us as a residents’ rights advocate. To report residents’ rights issues or to learn about the Long-term Care Ombudsman Volunteer Program, call 800-589-5826.

Maxwell Bumgardner, Warren

Maxwell Bumgardner is the Area Agency on Aging District 11’s ombudsman volunteer coordinator.

Issue 2 merits support by all seeking low drug prices

Thank you to The Vindicator for being brave enough to endorse Issue 2, the Ohio Drug Price Relief Act, and to stand up to pharmaceutical companies who have manipulated and rigged the system against their own patients.

Recent news stories about how the pharmaceutical industry lobbied Congress to pass legislation to weaken drug laws that could have helped curb Ohio’s opioid epidemic show the drug companies’ true motivation – it is always profits over patients.

And now they’re trying to do the same thing in Ohio. They’ve spent tens of millions of dollars to turn a number of industry insiders into corporate shills who are trying to get us to vote against our own best interest. We can’t let them do this. It’s time we hold pharmaceutical companies accountable and push back.

For lower drug prices. For our health. For our families. We must vote “yes” on Issue 2.

Rebecca Strong, Lakewood

Rebecca Strong is a former Canfield resident and 1997 graduate of Canfield High School who works for the Cleveland AIDS Task Force.

Make it a point to attend open house at dog pound

I have been a volun- teer at the Mahoning County Dog Pound for 11 years. I have written before praising the changes during these years that have transformed the pound from a dismal place where too many dogs had to die into a shelter where nearly every dog finds a home.

I’m writing now because it is just days from the long- anticipated opening of the new Mahoning County Dog Pound. As one who has waited years, I feel like a kid on Christmas Eve. It’s going to be a great place for dogs.

Please come to the open house Friday and Saturday at the new Meridian Road facility and, then, a week or so later when the “shelter” opens for business, come back and look at the dogs and take one home with you.

P.S. And tell your friends.

Richard Fogo, Youngstown

Marquette University hoops it up for Puerto Rico

Despite the unde- niable climate difference, not to mention the 2,000-mile trip getting there, Marquette University in Milwaukee has become a destination of choice for high school students in Puerto Rico wishing to pursue their college education. After the recent devastation to the Island caused by Hurricanes Marie and Irma, the university sought to raise funds for recovery operations on Puerto Rico.

An exhibition basketball game was proposed with The University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, just a few miles away, with all proceeds going to relief efforts in Puerto Rico.

Because two Division 1 basketball programs are prohibited from playing each other in exhibition games, a waiver was requested, and granted, by the NCAA, (which it did for other schools under similar circumstances as well).

The game itself, however, is one of those cultural events immersed in the tug and pull of local bias that seems to grow over time. In this case, a long time.

While well known locally (and to statistic buffs also) not once in the 39-game history played between these two schools, from 1917 to 2012, had Wisconsin-Milwaukee ever won this game, a run that remains one of college basketball’s most enduring (if one sided) records.

Exhibition game or no exhibition game, there would still be referees, a crowd, players and coaches who cared and a score at the end. Why risk, some murmured, tainting (even with an asterisk) a record that had taken a century to compile. But the cause overcame any such reluctance and, happily, by the end of the evening, the game had raised more than $31,000 for relief efforts that many think will continue for years to come.

Assured of the gratitude of so many for your generosity, if you can give to this important cause, please do so.

On another note, the streak continues – no asterisk needed.

Andrew Detesco Jr., Boardman

Andrew Detesco Jr. is president of the Marquette University National Alumni Association and works for Home Savings Insurance Group.


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