I got to California on Sunday, the very same day that the world was stunned by the news that Colombia’s voters had by the tiniest of margins (50.2 percent to 49.7 percent) rejected a peace deal that had been laboriously negotiated to bring to an end that country’s 52-year-long war against the Marxist revolutionary group known as the FARC. And what was one the first things that I saw on my arrival? Dueling billboards, for and against, Proposition 61.
I’d never heard of Prop. 61, which isn’t surprising since I haven’t lived in California–my home state–in decades. But then over dinner, I asked my relatives, who do live in California, about Prop. 61 and they had no idea either. I gather from a quick Google search that it would “ban state agencies from paying more for a prescription drug than the lowest price the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs pays for that same drug.” The drug industry is very opposed and has spent tens of millions of dollars in advertising to defeat it. But how on earth is an average person, who is not a full-time legislative analyst, supposed to evaluate the merits of this complex proposal?