Proponents and opponents debate over Measure 101
MEDFORD, Ore. —
On the ballot, this special election is measure 101 – a proposed tax on some medical services.
If approved, it would be a temporary, two-year tax, intended to safeguard coverage for low-income adults, children, the elderly and people with disabilities.
League of Women Voters Health Care Coordinator, Bill Walsh, says doing away with Medicaid funding would impact a large portion of our community.
"One out of four Oregonians, almost a million people, including 400,000 children," said Walsh.
Walsh says it would also put a halt to the rest of the state wanting to focus on other issues.
"Your legislator who wants to get some things done for the state in the next session but then has to
The proposed 1.5 percent tax on insurance companies, some hospitals, and providers is estimated to bring in $300 million with the potential of amounting to $600 million in federal matching funds.
Where the money would be coming from doesn't sit right with opponents of the bill.
"Passing a sales tax on the healthcare of individuals, small businesses, non-profits in your community - because of how they buy their insurance - they're subject to the tax. We didn’t think that was fair," said Julie Parrish, Republican state representative.
Parrish says she would rather see about $74 million that is believed to have been overspent on Medicaid, retrieved.
"We believe before we would ever consider taxing an Oregonians for their healthcare, how about we go get our money back. Right now they've only collected back $10 million of that, $64 million is still owed back to us," said Parrish.
But that money falls short of what the Medicaid projected cost is and Walsh says he isn't willing to change the funding.
"If we don't have the money then some really tough choices have to be made about who gets services and who doesn't," said Walsh.
Both sides say the debate isn't whether to fund Medicaid, both sides say they would like funding.
Right now the decision is whether Measure 101 is the method of the public’s choosing or if the public is willing to risk a loss of coverage until another bill is drawn up.