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Vote “yes” on Measure 101. Spare 350,000 Oregonians and all of us the tragedies of neglect.

The lives of hundreds of thousands of Oregonians qualifying for Medicaid have improved under the Oregon Health Plan (OHP). About 25 percent of OHP funding comes from state taxes and 75 percent from federal taxes. Oregon must provide its portion in order to qualify for the federal portion. Measure 101 allows the state to raise its portion through a 1.5 percent assessment (some call it a tax) on insurance plan premiums and a 0.7 percent assessment on hospital net revenue. Almost all providers and insurers agreed to the assessments because they expect to receive as much in Medicaid reimbursements.

The Oregon Health Authority is the state agency managing OHP. There have been problems in Oregon (and in many other states) following the expansion of Medicaid in 2014. About 2.5 percent of the total Oregon Medicaid budget was improperly accounted for in 2015 and 2016. Legislators from both parties acted to expose and correct the problems. Gov. Brown appointed Patrick Allen as director of the Health Authority in September, and he has openly informed the public about the problems and how they are being corrected.

Measure 101 stabilizes insurance premiums. Hospitals and insurance companies will not have to pass on to us the costs of unreimbursed care.

People suffer devastating complications from hypertension, diabetes, cancer, and a host of other conditions when they can’t afford care. Voting yes on Measure 101 before Jan. 23 makes good sense. Details at mvhca.org.

Michael Huntington, M.D.

Corvallis (Dec. 24)

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