In 2014, Oregon adopted the correct public policy by expanding insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act. With this expansion, more than 95% of Oregonians now have health insurance coverage.
Through the Medicaid (Oregon Health Plan or OHP) expansion, the federal government initially gave the State of Oregon the entire cost of approximately $5 billion dollars to enroll 375,000 more children and low-income working adults into the Oregon Health Plan. Beginning in 2016, the State of Oregon was responsible for a small portion of the expanded OHP program’s costs. By 2020, the State of Oregon will pay $500 million dollars (only 10% of the total), to receive $4.5 billion dollars from the Federal government to insure these 375,000 Oregonians. The ratio of $1 Oregon dollar for every $9 federal dollars received will remain in effect thereafter for health insurance for Oregonians in need.
In the current 2017-2019 budget cycle, the Oregon must contribute approximately $400 million dollars to receive $4.6 billion dollars from the federal government to keep the 375,00 Oregonians insured. This biennium, our State government will receive almost $21 billion in tax and lottery revenues from the hard work of Oregon’s citizens. This is already an increase of $3 billion dollars over the tax and lottery revenues in the 2015-2017 biennium. Certainly, the Oregon legislators could find $400 million in the $21 billion budget, or $1.90 out of every $100 revenue dollar received.
Oregon’s career politicians knew that the generous 100% federal payment for the OHP expansion was coming to an end. Oregon now needs to chip in only a small percentage of the generous Federal assistance to maintain the expanded OHP. The legislature failed to properly budget for this long-known payment. The legislators have submitted Measure 101, a series of new taxes to pay for Oregon’s part of OHP expansion for Oregonians in need. Why can’t the legislators find $1.90 out of every $100 revenue dollar received?
By demanding the passage of Measure 101, career politicians are holding health insurance for low-income citizens and children hostage for another increase in taxes on hard-working Oregonians. The needed money is there, if career politicians had the courage and foresight to plan for known budget items.
Remember the lies of the just-defeated Measure 97, the unfair gross receipts tax initiative. We were told that our state government would fail if it did not pass. Measure 97 did not pass; state government did not fail. Nothing changed, except that we kept more of our own money in our pockets.
Vote “No” on Measure 101. No more new taxes! Tell Oregon’s “we need more money” legislators that existing tax revenues are enough to pay for health insurance for our most vulnerable citizens. Oregonians already give more than enough money.
This fall, you will have an opportunity to remove these bumbling career politicians by voting for Measure 19, Term Limits for State Legislators. Measure 19 removes entrenched career politicians and lets in fresh new leaders to lead Oregon to a brighter future.
Join our efforts for a better Oregon!
*Photo courtesy of www.movetoportland.net