OR voters overwhelmingly pass health care taxes

OR voters overwhelmingly pass health care taxes

After millions spent on advertising, months of bitter debates, and a whole lot of bad health care jargon, voters on Tuesday approved Measure 101.

Oregon's big health care fight is over, and not much has changed. They hoped voters would repeal the taxes and force the Legislature back to the table to fund the Oregon Health Plan another way.

The passage of Measure 101 doesn't resolve Oregon's long-term dilemma of how to pay the costs to insure additional patients who qualified for Medicaid under the broadened eligibility criteria allowed under the Affordable Care Act.

Voters' wide approval of the tax deal was a victory for Democrats, who put the deal together and brokered enough votes in the Legislature to pass it, and for the health care industry, which bankrolled the "yes" campaign and will benefit from the resulting $1 billion-plus that will be spent on Oregonians' health care.

The initial numbers Richardson announced were different by a couple points favoring the "yes" side than those seen on the Secretary of State's website minutes later.

OR approved taxes on hospitals, health insurers and managed-care companies in an unusual special election Tuesday that asked voters-and not lawmakers-how to pay for Medicaid costs that now include coverage of hundreds of thousands of low-income residents added to the program's rolls under the Affordable Care Act.

Opponents said the taxes are unfair because they exempt unions and large corporations. About 62 percent of registered voters took part in that election.

Oregonians vote-by-mail state so most ballots have already been turned in. The Oregonian noted that early turnout had trailed three statewide special elections held since 2000.

Measure 101 approves temporary fees to fund health care for lower-income individuals and families. It was a similar set of numbers in Jefferson County - 57 percent opposed to 43 percent supporting Measure 101. Now that the state legislature doesn't have to grapple with a huge budget hole in the legislative session that begins next month, lawmakers are freed up to consider other policies. And with the results still trickling in by the minute, one celebrant seemed to capture the general tenor of the room when she yelled over the crowd: "Julie Parrish lost her own fucking district".

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