By now you should have your ballot for the January 23rd statewide election asking you to vote Yes or No on Measure 1011. It would let Oregon state government raise some additional $300 million this biennium on health care after it has already misspent several times that amount in recent years.
In addition to wasting $300 million on the Cover Oregon website that failed to sign up one person for health insurance, the state has been paying $280 million a year for nearly 55,000 Medicaid recipients recently found to no longer qualify or who failed to respond to an eligibility check. The state also overpaid health care organizations some $74 million over three years to provide expanded Medicaid coverage to some Oregonians.
More recently we learned2 that the state may have “erroneously paid, allocated, inaccurately recorded or over-claimed $112.4 million in health care funds.”
Measure 101 will tax some hospitals and add a tax to the health care premiums of many Oregonians. It will raise the cost of health care as these taxes are passed on to consumers and patients. These taxes are unfair, hitting some while exempting others. Furthermore, based on the recent failures of the state to spend health care monies properly, there is no assurance that this new money will be spent properly, either.
Measure 101 deserves your No vote.
Steve Buckstein is senior policy analyst and founder of Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market public policy research organization.