Many Voters Still Undecided About Legislation Targeting High Drug Costs

Proposition 61 would force state agencies to pay the same price for drugs paid by the US Department of Veterans Affairs.

A recent poll found that a majority of Californians support Proposition 61, but a large portion of individuals remain undecided.

Proposition 61 would tie the price state agencies pay for drugs to the price paid by the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). On average, the VA pays less for drugs than other state agencies due to special discounts and negotiations.

Proposition 61 would apply to any program where the state is the ultimate payer for the drug, even if it does not purchase the drug directly.

The new poll, conducted by The Field Poll and the University of California at Berkeley, found that 3 times as many Californians support the proposition compared with those who oppose it.

The researchers used the YouGov Internet panel, and showed voters the ballot they would be responding to in the election. They viewed the exact title and wording that will appear in November.

Included in the poll were 943 registered voters who will likely participate in the 2016 general election.

Only 16% of respondents reported they were inclined to vote no, while 50% reported they will vote yes, however, 34% of likely voters are undecided. These findings suggest that many Californians support the initiative’s attempt to reduce drug costs, but many still need to learn more before choosing a side.

The researchers also found that support for Proposition 61 is broad-based, and include subgroups of the population, such as Democrats, liberals, college graduates, individuals under 30-years-old, and Latinos. Undecided voters are a broad-based population, and include more than 1 in 4 voters in every segment of the likely voter population, the researchers reported.

Undecided respondents may be unsure due to a cautionary statement included in the ballot summary. This statement discloses that the amount of money saved from Proposition 61 will be dependent upon how challenges are addressed and how drug manufacturers respond, according to the researchers.

These findings suggest that the wording of the cautionary statement may encourage some individuals to be undecided or even vote no on the proposition.