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COSA Board endorses 'Yes' vote on Measure 101, set for Jan. 23 vote

The COSA Board of Directors has voted unanimously to endorse a “Yes” vote on Ballot Measure 101, which is on the ballot on January 23.  In doing so, COSA joined a growing list of education, healthcare and other organizations recommending a “yes” vote on the measure.

Measure 101 asks voters to uphold or repeal certain sections of House Bill 2391, passed by the legislature during the 2017 session.  To fill a budget shortfall and avoid cutting health insurance benefits for hundreds of thousands Oregonians, the bill raised state general fund revenue and generated significant federal matching funds by returning to previous budget solutions (hospital provider tax) and adding new health insurance premium assessments.

In COSA staff’s review of the measure, we identified several major policy and budget issues worth noting if Ballot Measure 101 does not pass in January. These include:

  1. Failure of BM 101 will create a significant budget shortfall that legislators will need to address during the February 2018 Session, creating budgetary chaos in the middle of the biennium during an election year.
  2. A majority of legislators are unwilling to jeopardize the health care of so many Oregonians if BM 101 fails. Options for the Legislature include raising other types of revenue and redirecting general fund allocations. This could include consideration of reductions to general fund budgets; the State School Fund is the single largest general fund budget (39%).
  3. Failure of BM 101 could lead to the loss of health insurance coverage for tens of thousands of Oregon’s most vulnerable students and their families, thereby exacerbating the unmet health, social, emotional, and mental health needs of tens of thousands of K-12 students.

For more information about Ballot Measure 101, please see this memorandum prepared by COSA staff, or visit the Yes for Healthcare website.