MEDFORD, Ore. -- Oregonians will vote on Measure 101 in the Special Election in a couple of weeks. A crowd of people came out to urge people to vote ‘Yes’ on Measure 101. The measure would add a tax on hospitals and insurance companies to add more healthcare funding for low income Oregonians.
"We feel very strongly about that people should vote ‘Yes’ on Measure 101 to insure and protect healthcare for 25% of all Oregonians. Every single child in Oregon will be protected with Measure 101 as will seniors and disabled people," said Co-Founder or Oregon District 2 Indivisible Jessica Sage. "We feel like healthcare is a right, not a privilege. Many people could not afford healthcare. This particular bill is not a tax. Nobody in this entire state would have to pay for this bill. It all comes out of those insurance companies."
Those rallying Tuesday afternoon said 95 percent of Oregonians will have access to healthcare if measure 101 passes and hundreds of thousands of Oregonians premiums will go down. Those against the bill say there needs to be changes in the overall system to allow low-income residents to have healthcare and this isn't the way to do it.
“We believe there are better ways, smarter ways to fund healthcare for Oregon's lowest income citizens who really do need to be covered. We just don't think taxing healthcare makes it cheaper. We’re asking voters to consider, not whether we should fund Medicaid but how the legislature chose to fund Medicaid," said Oregon State Representative Julie Parrish.
Representative Parrish said there is a misunderstanding that a 'no' vote means low-income Oregonians will lose their health care.
"We're not cutting people off of healthcare. We are trying to make sure people who have to pay full freight for their own insurance aren't in a position where they can't afford to buy their own healthcare anymore because the legislature put a tax on their insurance on top of the double-digit rate increases that they've been paying year over year over year. This tax is simply just not fair," Rep. Parrish added.
A Southern Oregon doctor was at the rally. He said if Measure 101 passes, it will have a great impact on his practice and clear up the emergency room.
"It would stabilize the market of Medicaid patients and recipients, those who need regular and routine follow-up, rather than delaying to a moment of crisis and ending up in the emergency room," said Dr. Junyang Lou, M.D.
Mail-in ballots were sent out earlier this month. The Special Election is on January 23rd.