Repeal of Oregon health care tax appears headed for January ballot


Repeal of Oregon health care tax appears headed for January ballot
  1. Repeal of Oregon health care tax appears headed for January ballot
    columbian.com
    SALEM, Ore. — Opponents of a new tax on health insurance providers and hospitals on Thursday submitted what they said are enough signatures to put the issue on the b…
    Washington (WA)

SALEM, Ore. — Opponents of a new tax on health insurance providers and hospitals on Thursday submitted what they said are enough signatures to put the issue on the ballot.

If enough valid signatures were collected, voters will be asked in a Jan. 23, 2018 special election if they want the taxes to take effect. A “yes” vote would maintain the tax on insurance premiums that lawmakers approved in June.

Supporters — including labor groups and organizations that make money by providing Medicaid services — say money raised by the bill will help keep 350,000 poor Oregonians on the state’s Medicaid program. They say the money will also help stabilize the insurance market by establishing a reinsurance program.

“Ultimately, we think there are other places we can tap for money,” Parrish told reporters at a Capitol press conference.

An elections worker said Parrish turned in 84,367 signatures — well past the 58,142 needed to qualify for the ballot. Workers will begin verifying the signatures Monday.

Supporters of the new taxes say that if Parrish’s repeal effort is successful, hundreds of thousands of Oregonians who depend on Medicaid could lose coverage. Several Medicaid recipients spoke about the importance of the program to them at a Portland press conference Thursday.

Parrish said she would not be pushing the repeal effort if she believed anyone would be kicked off their insurance plans. “Nobody should lose health care,” she said.

She and Rep. Cedric Hayden, a Douglas County Republican who is also a sponsor of the referendum, said Oregon’s health agency has enough money to cover health care costs for at least a year. By the time that money runs out, lawmakers could have come up with a better health care funding fix, they said.

They said that instead of increasing taxes, the Legislature should…

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    10.07 / 11:37 columbian.com
    SALEM, Ore. — Opponents of a new tax on health insurance providers and hospitals on Thursday submitted what they said are enough signatures to put the issue on the b…
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