Oregon voters will be asked this month to vote on a method of funding to provide health care for our state’s most vulnerable children, seniors and working families.
A “yes” vote will affirm actions of last year’s Legislature to maintain health care coverage for our most vulnerable through a tax on hospitals, health insurers, coordinated care organizations, and the Public Employee Benefit Board. A “No” vote will result in a reduction of approximately $320 million in general fund dollars as well as reducing approximately $960 million in matching federal funds. A “No” vote will upset our current Medicaid program, which helps nearly 1 in 4 families, including 400,000 children, to get health care. I urge voters to give thoughtful consideration to the value of having 95 percent of our citizens receive health care coverage and vote “yes."
Measure 101 has been endorsed by more than 160 organizations, most notably all the organizations who will be taxed. The list includes among many others, the Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems, Samaritan Health Services, where I have served for many years on the board of directors, the Oregon Nurses Association, Oregon Medical Association, Oregon Primary Care Association, Oregon-AARP, Oregon School Boards Association and the Oregon Education Association.
In many ways, Measure 101 is a referendum on our personal values. It poses two basic questions to all voters, “Do we care for our most vulnerable?” and “Do we have faith that our Legislature and governor have provided a viable solution?” Please give thoughtful consideration to your vote.
Albany (Jan. 4)
The writer is a former member of the Oregon State Senate and represented Linn and Benton counties.