High stakes vote on Oregon tax on insurance companies

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — A tax on insurance companies and some hospitals to provide health care for low-income Oregonians goes before voters next month, even after it was approved by the Legislature and signed by the governor in the 2017 legislative session.

Three Republican lawmakers, arguing that costs would be shifted to consumers, gathered enough signatures for a referendum to allow voters to say yes or no to the assessments — as the Democrats tend to call them— or taxes, the Republicans’ favored wording.

There’s a lot at stake in the Jan. 23 special election.

If voters say no to Measure 101, thereby eliminating or delaying the taxes, it will cause a drop of $210 million to $320 million in state revenue, resulting in a possible reduction of $630 million to $960 million or more in federal Medicaid matching funds.