Oregon Measure 101 about health care to be on January ballot

A bipartisan group from Southern Oregon held an informational meeting Thursday in support of Oregon Measure 101.

If approved, the measure would provide more funding for the Oregon Health Plan, by preserving a tax on some health insurance companies, hospitals and managed care organizations.

“Everybody deserves healthcare. And your health insurance shouldn’t be more than a house payment,” State Senator Alan DeBoer said.

Republican State Senator Alan DeBoer and former Democrat State Representative Peter Buckley came together Thursday, to discuss their support for Oregon Measure 101 at the Medford Library.

“Measure 101 is a funding package for health care for Oregonians,” Buckley said.

Currently on the January ballot, Measure 101 would approve temporary taxes on insurance companies, some hospitals and other managed care organizations to fund health care for low-income individuals and families while also stabilizing health insurance premiums.

“A ‘yes’ on 101 would help stabilize health care for over 30 percent of the residents of Jackson County and over 36 percent of the residents of Josephine County,” Buckley said.

According to DeBoer, Measure 101 repeals part of the healthcare financing program the legislature put together.

But a “No” on the measure he says would repeal it completely and put the state budget out of balance which would leave the legislature with three options.

“We either have to cut two to three hundred thousand people out of health care, we need to find savings of the two hundred and thirty million, or we need to create a tax for two hundred and thirty million,” DeBoer said.

Deboer says voting “No” wouldn’t lower health insurance costs and if residents vote “Yes”, insurers wouldn’t be able to increase rates on health insurance premiums by more than 1.5 percent.

Both DeBoer and Buckley say there’s bi-partisan support because they believe the measure would help everyone.

“Making sure people have access to affordable and high quality health care… it makes sense. For kids, for families, for business, for communities… Kids who have health care do better in school,” Buckley said.

DeBoer says Measure 101 is only a temporary fix until the federal government finds a better solution.

Buckley sees it as a way to continue the momentum of what’s already been established by the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), ensuring all Oregonians access to health care.

“95 percent of Oregonians have access to health care right now. Measure 101 keeps it that way,” Buckley said.

Not everyone is in favor of Measure 101.

Those against it say the new taxes on health insurance providers would be passed on to consumers.

It’s also argued that Oregon instead needs systemic changes to the way it provides health care to low-income residents.

Ballots will be due by January 23rd.

You can expect to see them in the mail in early January.

NBC5 News Multimedia Journalist Elizabeth Ruiz was raised in Northern Colorado. She graduated from Colorado State University with a degree in Journalism and Media Communication. She also minored in Spanish and studied in Spain. While at Colorado State, she was an anchor and reporter for CTV Channel 11.

Elizabeth loves Zumba dancing, singing and spending time with her family.

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