The two are among just 27 congressional Republicans nationwide who say publicly that Biden beat President Donald Trump, per the findings of a Washington Post survey of all 249 Republicans in the House and Senate.
Rep. Steve Stivers said in a Nov. 25 statement: “With yesterday’s certification of many states’ results, it’s evident that President (Donald) Trump has exhausted the due process offered to all candidates. I offer my congratulations to President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect (Kamala) Harris.”
Rep. Anthony Gonzalez of Rocky River acknowledged Biden’s victory in his response to The Post, adding: “I support the president’s right to appeal through the legal process. I do not support any unfounded claims by anyone about widespread voter fraud without sufficient proof.”
Sen. Rob Portman was listed among those whose position is unclear.
It’s never too early to start jockeying
The game of political musical chairs is on in northern Ohio.
President-elect Joe Biden has selected Congresswoman Marcia Fudge, a Cleveland Democrat, as his nominee to lead the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. If confirmed, that would leave open the seat representing Ohio’s 11th Congressional District, which includes portions of Cuyahoga and Summit counties.
Fudge was elected in November to a new two-year term, and potential successors would have to run in a special election. Politics reporter Rick Rouan notes a few familiar names already are cropping up as potential candidates.
Former state Sen. Nina Turner, who was national co-chair of the presidential campaign for U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, already has filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission to form a campaign committee for the, as of now, hypothetical election.
Ohio House Minority Leader Emilia Sykes of Akron also may be interested in the seat. Asked Thursday if she would run, Sykes told Rouan, “Maybe. I’ll take a look and see.”
Gov. Mike DeWine would have to schedule a special election next year to fill the vacancy. The term running through 2022 would be the last under Ohio’s current congressional map, Rouan noted. The state will begin the process of drawing new lines, likely with only 15 districts instead of the current 16, in 2021.
You think you had a bad week?
It was not a good week for pharmacy benefit managers, formerly the little-noticed middlemen in the prescription drug supply chain.
The bad news came with an 8-0 U.S. Supreme Court ruling Thursday rejecting the PBMs’ contention that a federal insurance law pre-empted Arkansas restrictions on them.
In a rarity for this day and age, the decision united Republicans and Democrats in praise.
Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich, an avid Donald Trump supporter, tweeted: “States must have the power to protect patients against abusive practices by health care oligopolies, like the huge insurer and large pharmacy chain owned PBMs. This 8-0 ruling is good news.”
Stories from The Dispatch’s Side Effects series were included in Arkansas’ Supreme Court filings.
The high court ruling came a few days after a consultant’s report showed that PBMs in Florida were pocketing $89.6 million a year above administrative costs from the state’s Medicaid system.
“The report … shows what we already know: PBMs are gaming the system, taking money from taxpayers for their own benefit,” said Michael Jackson, CEO of the Florida Pharmacy Association.
The new study echoed findings from research by 3 Axis Advisors, a drug price watchdog co-founded by Antonio Ciacccia, former lobbyist for the Ohio Pharmacists Association who has been outspoken on practices by PBMs in the Buckeye State and elsewhere.
A similar probe of Ohio’s Medicaid program in 2018 showed that PBMs were taking in nearly a quarter billion dollars a year by charging rates three to six times the industry standard. (Part of that report, by the way, has remained hidden from the public for two and-a-half years due to legal delays from a lawsuit filed by PBMs — so long that the judge on the case was up for re-election and lost.)
The Florida report came on the heels of an NBC News investigation into problems caused by mail-order prescriptions, which are often mandated by PBMs to guarantee insurance coverage for consumers.
The PBMs will be back in the barrel again in Ohio this week in the year’s final meeting of the Joint Medicaid Oversight Committee.