Oregon looks at budget deficit despite Medicaid tax approval

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Oregon lawmakers say voter approval of Medicaid taxes has stabilized the budget but they still face a shortfall as they prepare for next week’s legislative session.

Senate President Peter Courtney, D-Salem, said at an Associated Press forum Monday the Legislature “got a break” because Measure 101 passed. However Courtney said there’s a deficit of up to $300 million that likely will have to be addressed because of changes to federal tax laws.

A short, 35-day session begins Monday.

Last week Oregonians approved taxes on hospitals, health insurers and managed care companies in special election that asked voters how to pay for Medicaid costs that now include coverage of hundreds of thousands of low-income residents added to the program’s rolls under the Affordable Care Act. The taxes are a short-term fix for health care funding that will generate between $210 million and $320 million in revenue over two years.