Vote Yes on Measure 101
by Oregon State Rep. David Gomberg and Lesley Ogden, M.D.
In a special election on Jan. 23, Oregon voters will be asked whether they want to continue funding health insurance for roughly a quarter of our friends and neighbors, while also reducing insurance premium costs for those with private coverage. We encourage a “Yes” vote on this important question.
If approved, Measure 101 would increase current assessments paid by hospitals, insurance companies and coordinated care organizations, which would be matched by federal funding. If Measure 101 fails, about 13 percent of Lincoln County residents – mostly children and seniors – would lose their state-funded health coverage.
Throughout Oregon 400,000 children are projected to lose health coverage if the measure fails.
So how can increasing assessments reduce the cost of health services and medical insurance? The answer is simply that it costs less to keep people healthy than it does to treat them in emergency rooms after they put off seeking care and become seriously ill. And when uninsured patients are treated in emergency rooms, those costs are passed along to the rest of us. Put another way: It costs less to regularly change the oil in your car than it does to eventually replace the engine.
Measure 101 protects health care coverage for one in four Oregonians, including 400,000 kids. And, if you buy your own insurance, Measure 101 is projected to lower your premium cost by up to $300 per year.
Measure 101 is a good investment. It will allow Oregon to collect between $210 million and $320 million, and receive potentially $5 billion in federal matching funds. That’s billion with a “B.” It is important to note that the very organizations being asked to pay more – including Samaritan Health Services locally and other major health providers and insurers throughout Oregon — support the measure as well. That’s because they agree that continuing health coverage for some of our most vulnerable residents is of the utmost importance.
No matter where you live or work, you should be able to see a doctor or nurse and get medication when you’re sick. You deserve regular check-ups to stay healthy. And it shouldn’t bankrupt you. Measure 101 is an important step to make basic health care affordable and accessible to every Oregonian.
A “yes” vote on Measure 101 is also being urged by the League of Women Voters, the Oregon Medical Association, Children First of Oregon, AARP, the Oregon Public Health Institute, the Oregon Education Association, the Latino Health Coalition, the Women’s Rights Coalition, and a broad coalition of dozens of other advocacy groups.
Please join with us in voting “Yes” on Measure 101.
David Gomberg is State Representative for House District 10 on the central Oregon Coast. Dr. Lesley Ogden is CEO of Samaritan North Lincoln Hospital in Lincoln City and Samaritan Pacific Communities Hospital in Newport.