On January 23, Oregon will hold a special election on Measure 101, which asks voters to uphold funding for our state’s Medicaid program. There’s a lot at stake for SEIU members and all Oregonians. We’ll walk you through the measure so you can make an informed decision this winter.
First, a little background. Measure 101 started as a bill in the Oregon legislature. Republicans and Democrats, along with representatives from the healthcare industry, came together to place an assessment (or fee) on hospitals and insurance providers. The revenue generated by the assessment will help fund Medicaid and protect the nearly one million people who get their healthcare through the program.
It’s a good deal for Oregon because the revenue generated by the assessment is matched by federal dollars by as much as $16 to $1. This is one of the reasons the measure received such broad support. Unfortunately, three extremist legislators broke with the mainstream and gathered signatures to put the bill on the ballot.
Oregon will now have a chance to vote on the bill during a special election in January. Ballots will arrive January 3-9 and the deadline for voting is January 23. A YES vote on Measure 101 will uphold funding for Oregon’s most vulnerable – kids, seniors, and people with disabilities. A NO vote will eliminate the funding.
This vote has a direct impact on every SEIU 503 member. Thousands of SEIU members get their healthcare through Medicaid, as do many of our consumers, family members, and neighbors. If Measure 101 fails, people on Medicaid are at risk of losing their access to healthcare.
Measure 101 also has a big impact on the state budget. If Measure 101 fails, state funding will be cut by between $210 and $320 million, resulting in the loss of potentially $5 billion in matching federal funding. Such a dramatic shortfall would throw the budget into crisis. Opponents of Measure 101 have specifically said that they want to cut public employee healthcare, and with a shortfall this large, who knows what other cuts they would make.
As with any law related to public funding, opponents claim it will drive up costs for consumers. It’s critical for every SEIU 503 member to know that Measure 101 will not raise their healthcare costs. In fact, the opposite is true. A NO vote on Measure 101 will throw the state budget into crisis, and that puts SEIU members at risk of higher healthcare costs.
A YES vote on Measure 101 guarantees healthcare for SEIU members and protects healthcare for the one million people on Medicaid in Oregon. Voting yes will also protect the state budget from yet another crisis. That’s why SEIU Local 503 member leaders are asking you to vote yes on Measure 101.
As an SEIU member, there are three things you can do to help protect healthcare.