Oregon voters to decide Medicaid funding as costs rise

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Oregon voters will soon decide whether to fund the state’s expansion of Medicaid and other rising health care costs with taxes on hospitals and health insurers.

Experts say the special election Tuesday is the only instance where voters — instead of lawmakers — will decide how to fund the Medicaid expansion among the 32 states and Washington, D.C. that added enrollees under the Affordable Care Act.

If it passes, the measure would tax hospitals and health insurers to fund Oregon’s rising Medicaid costs.

It would raise $210 million to $330 million in revenue over the next two years.

Oregon added more than 350,000 people in 2014 but now has a budget hole as federal matching funds are reduced.

The unusual election has significant consequences for low-income Oregonians.