Measure 101, Alternative Point of View
To the surprise of many registered voters in Oregon, there is a Special Election on January 23rd for Measure 101, a series of health care taxes. If not already, soon your ballot will be in your mail box. I would encourage you to complete the ballot and return it. Special Elections most often have the lowest voter turnout but like this one, have a huge impact on each of us as citizens of Oregon.
There have been numerous television and radio ads, newspaper ads and prominent professionals stepping in with “Opinions” in Op-Ed pieces and letters to the editor, most recently CEO of our two Lincoln County Hospitals, Lesley Ogden and State Representative David Gomberg. This election really is only about the money. Contrary to the advertising, it is not about Who should have health care coverage. It is about how this continued Health Care Coverage should be funded!
The proposed health care taxes in Measure 101 are targeting public schools, small businesses, non-profits, college students and individuals who are least able to pay this tax, while leaving out unions, special interests and big corporations. For those of us who have lobbied to get more dollars to K-12 Education, if this measure passes, approximately $25 million of the previous school funding will go to pay this health care tax. Once again, this would eliminate dollars that were destined to the class room.
This Health Care Tax has come about to fill a gap because our State Legislators did not plan ahead. When the Medicaid population in Oregon was expanded under the Affordable Care Act, the federal government agreed to pay 100 percent of costs for that expanded population until 2017. Once again our State Legislators are caught flat footed and scrambling to fill a previously known hole in the budget, at the last minute.
Most people agree that Health Care is needed for everyone. There were and are other alternatives for funding this need. The State Legislature goes into session on February 5th. After you vote No on Measure 101, they can easily handle this issue in the short session. This is exactly what the short session is for and why the vote on Measure 101 was scheduled for January 23rd.
Vote No on Measure 101 and send a message back to our Legislators that a lack of planning on their part is not acceptable. Subsidized Health Care is a need and should be paid for in a more thoughtful equitable manner.
(Anderson is an elected member of the North Lincoln Health District as well as a City Councilor with the City of Lincoln City)