On Jan. 23 a special election will take place in Oregon, with the ballot asking voters to vote on whether or not to support Measure 101. The official ballot title of Measure 101 is stated as follows: “Approves temporary assessments to fund health care for low-income individuals and families, and to stabilize health insurance premiums, temporary assessments on insurance companies, some hospitals, and other providers of insurance or healthcare coverage. Insurers may not increase rates on health insurance premiums by more than 1.5 percent as a result of these assessments.” More plainly, Measure 101 is a fee on hospitals and insurance companies that funds Medicaid, a healthcare program that assists low-income citizens in providing healthcare coverage. The program is funded by both states and the federal government. One in four Oregonians receive health care from Medicaid, making this measure especially important and influential.
If Measure 101 passes, its funds will be used to ensure health coverage for children, senior citizens, the working class, and people with disabilities, as well as to stabilize healthcare and insurance costs for those who buy their own health insurance.
If Measure 101 does not pass, funding for Medicaid will be significantly cut, resulting in a potential loss of up to $5 billion in federal funding. The nearly 400,000 Oregonians who rely on Medicaid would face the possibility of losing healthcare benefits or coverage. According to federal limits on legislature, the effects of the failure of Measure 101 could take a variety of forms, such as diminishing full coverage on treatments and procedures for Oregonians or cutting services like prescription drug coverage.
Democrats are the largest supporter of Measure 101, and some Oregonians are speculating that Measure 101’s timing was planned for a low Democratic turnout rate. Democrats’ historically low special election turnout rates leave the prospects for Measure 101’s passing up in the air.