As a legislator, I want what’s best for Oregon families. As a mom of three busy boys, I approach the problems facing our state like I approach solving problems at home, especially budget issues. And as parents, we all know access to affordable, convenient, and quality healthcare is a must for our kids.
So why bring Measure 101 forward for a vote? By now, you’ve heard from pro-tax supporters that 350,000 people could lose healthcare without a yes vote. That simply isn’t true.
Measure 101 is $330 million of a $13.69 billion dollar budget; these are new sales taxes on insurance premiums and increased hospital costs. Most families and small businesses are struggling to pay for their own or their employees’ insurance. They saw double-digit rate increases for 2018 and simply cannot afford to pay more for healthcare. Taxing a basic need like healthcare doesn’t make it cheaper!
Measure 101 unfairly puts the Medicaid burden on working families and our smallest businesses. It will take $25 million from our public schools because of how districts buy insurance for teachers. It’s particularly troublesome that Measure 101 taxes exempted Oregon’s largest corporations, unions, insurance companies, and even lawmakers, from paying towards our societal cost of funding Medicaid.
Most families making a midnight hospital run with a sick kiddo won’t be able to afford higher out-of-pocket hospital costs if Measure 101 passes.
We aren’t saying no to taxes for healthcare if we need them. We are saying no to a tax on other people’s healthcare to fund Medicaid. A bill is ready for 2018 that includes a tobacco tax increase because we know tobacco-related diseases drive Oregon Health Plan costs. I’ve voted to increase tobacco taxes when we raised $40 million dollars for mental health in 2013 using a .13c tobacco tax increase. This is not new territory for me.
On a personal note, I grew up in the Medicaid system. I have family members who never made it out of poverty that rely on Medicaid. Representative Dr. Cedric Hayden, a Medicaid dental practitioner from Lane County is a father of a child with significant disabilities. He has served his entire medical career making sure low-income and disabled people in his community have access to care. Together we’re committed to money-saving reforms and making sure every Medicaid dollar we have reaches people in need.
Oregon can do better. Measure 101 taxes were created in a backroom deal by the same healthcare corporations that have now spent $3 million dollars and are using Washington DC campaign consultants trying to scare you into thinking there’s no other way to fund healthcare.
How many times when our children are stumped on a homework problem do we tell them to look for another solution? There’s always another way. As parents, we teach our children fairness. Measure 101 taxes are self-serving to the people and organizations who are profiteering from our healthcare system while leaving everyday Oregonians footing the bill.
Join Dr. Hayden and me in voting no on Measure 101, and tell lawmakers to pass a fair, equitable, and sustainable Medicaid package that works for all Oregonians, not special interests.