Voters said “yes” to Measure 101 on Tuesday night with over 765,000 ballots counted in early returns. Measure 101 was upheld with 61.43% of voters approving it.
Measure 101 approves a tax on hospitals and other healthcare providers, and is used to fund healthcare for low-income Oregonians. It was approved by Oregon lawmakers during the 2017 summer legislative session.
The federal government matches the money raised in Oregon, and that is used to fund Medicaid.
In October, Oregon Rep. Julie Parrish, and two fellow Republicans, Cedric Hayden and Sal Esquivel, successfully petitioned with 85,000 signatures to vote on a repeal of the healthcare tax in January.
They claimed that the tax would move to consumers, not insurance providers and hospitals like planned, and suggested that lawmakers find a different way to cut the cost of healthcare.
“If [Measure 101] were rejected, students would be responsible for medical bills, which could potentially pull students out of school to help their parents pay for bills as well,” said Sophia Deloretto-Chudy, the Vice President of the College Democrats, and an executive member of the Democratic Party of Lane County.
“Yes for Healthcare” is a campaign in support of keeping Measure 101 in place. The campaign held a ballot return viewing event at Falling Sky Pizzeria & Public House in the Erb Memorial Union at the University of Oregon, where 40 to 50 community members and representatives anxiously awaited the results.
According to the campaign’s website, the money from Measure 101 “ensures every child in Oregon has access to healthcare, protects healthcare for working families, seniors and people with disabilities, and stabilizes healthcare costs and insurance premiums for people who buy their own insurance.”
A “yes” vote means that the more than one million Oregonians, including 400,000 children, insured through Measure 101 will remain insured.
Students insured by the Oregon Health Plan — the state’s version of Medicaid — don’t need to worry about the possibility of having to pay for their own insurance. Many students rely on their family’s Medicaid insurance to pay for medical bills while they focus on school, explained Miles Trinidad, a UO senior who is also involved with the PPAO.
Because of the “yes” vote, the “most vulnerable citizens have access to healthcare,” said Sierra Dameron, the Yes for Healthcare campaign organizer. “Healthcare is a right, not a privilege,” she said.
Val Hoyle is a Democratic former member of the Oregon House of Representatives representing District 14, which includes West Eugene, Junction City and Cheshire. Hoyle was at the “Yes for Healthcare” campaign event on Tuesday night.
“We stood up for seniors, disabled citizens, 400,000 children and more than one million Oregonians,” Hoyle said. “I am proud to be an Oregonian.”