Oregon AFSCME stands in support of Measure 101, a ballot measure which is a fee on hospitals and insurance companies that fund Medicaid, and provides healthcare coverage for 1 in 4 Oregonians. Our Union endorsed support 101 for some pretty simple reasons and we wanted to make sure members understand why.
First off, it’s the right thing to do. Measure 101 ensures every child in Oregon has access to healthcare as well as ensuring seniors and people with disabilities have coverage. It also stabilizes healthcare cost and insurance premiums for people who buy their own insurance and for companies who provide those benefits. If it fails, all of those things are in limbo.
We think there is a moral obligation, along with the pure policy benefits, to supporting 101. However, as public employees there is a more selfish reason to support this. If 101 fails, those folks who would lose healthcare are still going to need healthcare and there is almost a zero percent chance that the legislature decides to cut those folks off.
So why does that matter to us? The only way the state will be able to find the hundreds of millions of dollars necessary to fund this in a short session is by making cuts to the current budget. That means damaging cuts to our state agencies and the numerous programs that trickle down to the counties and municipalities. So, a no vote won’t just impact those mentioned above, as a public employee if 101 fails, we will feel impacts. The only question is how much and to what.
Lastly, there is no other plan. The legislation that prompted Measure 101 was the work of months of bipartisan negotiations in the last session. Counter to some of the messaging happening, it was passed with bipartisan support. So, without a plan to stabilize insurance cost for the private market and cover those on public healthcare voting no amounts to jumping off into a dangerous unknown.
Whether you are a bleeding heart or a staunch numbers person, voting for 101 makes sense. Join us in supporting a healthier Oregon and a stabilized insurance market by voting yes on 101.