Should Measure 101 be defeated, there will be a number of immediate consequences. 350,000 low income, hard working Oregonians will lose their health insurance coverage. These fellow Oregonians should not be punished because the short term legislative funding is not as broad-based as perhaps it should be.
Since the federal government matches every dollar Oregon spends on Medicaid, the state’s economy will lose billions in federal funding. Enrollment in the Oregon Health Plan will decline by over a third, making it difficult to maintain the infrastructure of our Coordinated Care Organizations that have made Oregon a national leader in reducing the cost of health care while maintaining quality and outcomes. This would not only be detrimental to those currently covered by the OHP, it would also compromise the integrity of a health care delivery model that offers perhaps the best opportunity to reduce the long-term cost of health care for both public and private employees.
Defeat of Measure 101 will create a fiscal crisis, less than eight months into the state’s two-year budget. Re-balancing the current budget will become the top legislative priority, diverting energy and attention away from the critical process of developing the sound bipartisan solution we need. Although opponents of Measure 101 claim to have “alternative funding proposals,” the details are nowhere to be found, nor the political strategy necessary to enact them.
Jeopardizing health insurance coverage for 350,000 Oregonians is unnecessary. Vote yes on Measure 101.
Vern A. Saboe, Jr., DC
Albany (Dec. 28)