Oregon Measure 101

Oregonians are being asked to weigh in on complicated health care financing and election day is Jan. 23. It’s enough to make a voter’s head spin! CLP Current Events makes sense of Measure 101 for students and voters alike. Check out our News Sources including articles, voter resources, and YES and NO camp pieces.

Brought to teachers by Susie Marcus, CLP consultant, with CLP staff.


Oregon Measure 101, Healthcare Insurance Premiums Tax for Medicaid Referendum (2018)

Approves temporary assessments to fund health care for low-income individuals and families, and to stabilize health insurance premiums. Temporary assessments on insurance companies, some hospitals, and other providers of insurance or health care coverage. Insurers may not increase rates on health insurance premiums by more than 1.5 percent as a result of these assessments.

Result of “Yes” Vote: “Yes” vote approves temporary assessments on insurance companies, some hospitals, the Public Employees’ Benefit Board, and managed care organizations. Assessments provide funding for health care for low-income individuals and families, and individuals with disabilities; also stabilize premiums charged by insurance companies for health insurance purchased by individuals and families. Insurance companies may not increase rates on health insurance premiums by more than 1.5 percent as a result of the assessments. Hospital assessments may not begin without approval by a federal agency.

Result of “NO” Vote: “No” vote rejects temporary assessments on insurance companies, the Public Employees’ Benefit Board, and managed care organizations; and either rejects or delays temporary assessments on some hospitals. Assessments rejected (or delayed) by a “no” vote are currently budgeted to fund health care for low-income individuals and families and individuals with disabilities and for stabilizing the costs of insurance premiums. As a result, a “no” vote would underfund these budgeted costs.
Oregon Secretary of State, Referendum Petition, Nov.1, 2017

Explanatory Statement from Ballotpedia
If the voters reject Ballot Measure 101, it would eliminate the temporary assessment on insurance companies, the Public Employees’ Benefit Board and managed care organizations and delay the collection of the additional 0.7 percent hospital assessment until the later of January 1, 2018, or the date that a federal agency approves the changes required by the amendment. The effect would be to underfund the budgeted costs for providing health care to low-income children, adults and families and individuals with disabilities and to eliminate the funds budgeted to stabilize health insurance premiums paid by individuals and families.

The above is from Ballotpedia, a website dedicated to providing “neutral, accurate, and verifiable information”.


News Sources

High Stakes Vote on Oregon Tax on Insurance Companies Looming, by Andrew Selsky,
Associated Press, Statesman Journal, Dec. 26, 2017
“A tax on insurance companies and some hospitals to provide health care for low-income Oregonians goes before voters (this) month, even after it was approved by the Legislature and signed by the governor during the 2017 legislative session. Three Republican lawmakers, arguing that the costs would be shifted to consumers, gathered enough signatures for a referendum to allow voters to say yes or no… There is a lot at stake in the Jan. 23 special election…”
CLP: more concise and readable description of the stakes in M.101.

Measure 101 Results Could Affect Fate of Health Insurance Costs, by Sean Bassinger, Herald and News (Klamath Falls), Dec. 17, 2017
“…Some worry failure to pass the ballot issue could cost 350,000 residents their medical coverage through the Oregon Health Plan (OHP) or require private insurance holders to pay more. Others fear the additional money will be swept away into the general fund and not be applied to Medicaid at all…”
CLP: K-Falls news source combines history of the healthcare funding with straightforward reporting of the challenges.

Campaigns Present Competing Narratives On Oregon Health Care Measure, by Jeff Mapes, OPB, Dec. 13, 2017
“The first debate over the Jan. 23 health care referendum on the Oregon ballot focused on how it would affect the state’s Medicaid recipients. Supporters of Measure 101 argued that rejecting the proposed taxes on health care providers and insurers could blow a huge hole in the program covering low-income Oregonians…’Nobody loses their health care on Jan. 24 and we’re committed to that,’ countered Rep. Julie Parrish, R-West Linn…”

Voters’ Resources
Oregon Measure 101, Healthcare Insurance Premiums Tax for Medicaid Referendum (2018), from Ballotpedia
CLP: Find answers to your questions here — not short but it is comprehensive! Offers the most complete look at M101, arguments pro and con, and more.

Oregon Voters’ Pamphlet, Secretary of State’s Office
CLP: go here for statements in favor and statements opposed. Secretary of State Dennis Richardson adds a caution that may be fun for your students to ferret out: “As you read your Oregon Voters’ Pamphlet, you will see arguments submitted in favor and in opposition of the measure to be voted on. Sometimes authors purposely submit “Yes” arguments in the ‘No’ column and ‘No’ arguments in the ‘Yes’ column. Oregon law requires the Elections Division to place arguments as submitted. If you notice arguments that seem to be in the wrong column, please be aware that this was not an error; it was the desire of the author who submitted the argument.”

League of Women Voters of Oregon –Voters’ Guide to Measure 101
CLP: always reliable LWV for voting info!

In the YES Camp
Oregon Measure 101 About Health Care to Be on January Ballot, by Elizabeth Ruiz, Kobi5 News (Medford), Dec. 14, 2017
“A bipartisan group from Southern Oregon held an informational meeting Thursday in support of Oregon Measure 101. If approved, the measure would provide more funding for the Oregon Health Plan, by preserving a tax on some health insurance companies, hospitals and managed care organizations. ‘Everybody deserves healthcare. And your health insurance shouldn’t be more than a house payment,’ State Senator Alan DeBoer said…”
CLP: news reporting on the YES position.

4 Things Students Should Know About January’s Measure 101 Ballot, by Kylie Storm, Daily Emerald, Oct. 26, 1017
“…In January, the measure hits the ballot. But what does it really mean? Here are some things that students should know about Measure 101…”
CLP: One-sided but helpful perspective. The Daily Emerald is UofO’s independent student media organization.

Oregon State Senator – News from Elizabeth Steiner Hayward: Measure 101 – The Provider Assessment, posted Dec. 27, 2017
“…I’m voting yes for Measure 101 on January 23rd, because my goal as a legislator is to make Oregon the healthiest state in the nation…”
CLP: Sen. Steiner Hayward is a physician in her non-legislator life.

In the No Camp
Vote ‘No’ on Measure 101’s Inequitable Tax: Editorial Endorsement (OPINION), by The Oregonian/Oregonlive, Dec. 16, 2017
“… Oregonians should stand against the inequity of this tax, demand that lawmakers find a fairer way to meet the Medicaid obligation and vote no on Measure 101. This is not an easy decision, because there are real risks that accompany a defeat…”
CLP: Editorial clearly raises the NO position.

Vote NO on Health Care Tax Measure 101, by Cascade Policy Institute, Dec. 4, 2017
“Oregonians will have the opportunity in January to vote No on Ballot Measure 101, thus rejecting new taxes that the state legislature and the governor tried to impose on health insurance premiums and hospital services. While these and other taxes are meant to shore up state funding of Medicaid services to low-income Oregonians, it has become clear that the state has been misspending such funds for years…”


Questions to Consider

  • What is Measure 101?
  • What is a veto referendum?
  • What are the arguments to vote YES? What are the arguments to vote NO?
  • What does a YES vote mean? What does a NO vote mean?
  • Is this a referendum on the Legislature’s failure to find funding sources for basic needs? Is this a referendum on lack of action by state leaders to resolve funding issues? Is this a referendum asking voters to approve a “fix” approved by the Legislature? Is this a tax? Is the health of many Oregon citizens in jeopardy if the Measure 101 fails? What are alternatives to Measure 101?
  • What action is available to the Legislature in the February short session? How might the upcoming legislative session affect votes on Measure 101?
  • Is a referendum unsuited to solve complicated policy issues? What are the alternatives to referring this to the voters?
  • Did the Democratic majority in both the Oregon House, Senate and Governor’s office influence the original vote? Should funding health care be a partisan issue?
  • What is Medicaid and how does its funding influence state decisions?
  • What impact might Federal legislation on health care have on Oregon Measure 101?
  • Why is this vote important for the future of Oregon? Is there a danger that voters will not participate in a January election?
  • How would you convince voters to cast votes in this election?
  • What are the negatives in a referendum? Lower turnout, possible extremist influence, unclear voting as to yes or no, reaffirming a legislative law or cancelling the law?
  • How might health insurance premiums be impacted by this measure?
  • How is children’s medical care affected by this measure?
  • What are the positives of referendums? Promotes direct democracy, prevents run away legislation, encourages activism?
  • What does it mean to have a right to health? How should we pay for health care?


Background and More

The Trouble with Referendums, Kristi Lowe, Kelsi Suter, Politico (EU), Updated Jul. 8, 2017
“… More direct democracy? Not so fast. There’s a reason it backfired in the United Kingdom…”
CLP: examples of potential downfalls of referendums.


Lesson Plans

Lesson Plan: What Role Should Government Play in Paying for Health Care?, from OPB/POV
“This lesson plan is designed to be used with the film Life. Support. Music., which documents the recovery of guitarist Jason Crigler after he suffered a brain hemorrhage while onstage at a show… Discuss to what degree, if any, a government should help its citizens with medical expenses…”
CLP: focus is long term care but deals with government funding issues

The Ballot and Questions, from Center for Civic Education
“…In this lesson, the ballot for the upcoming election is introduced with in-depth information on the offices and questions to be voted upon…”
CLP: Good lesson using real school questions on referendum, heavy duty info on voting

GOT BALLOT?, from iCivics
Compare and contrast the initiative and referendum processes

Taking It Grassroots: Initiative – Referendum – Referral, from Oregon Secretary of State’s Office
“Understand the differences between an initiative, referendum, and referral and how they make it to a ballot. Additionally students will learn how these have been used throughout Oregon’s history and how these can be used by voters to effect change…”


Oregon & the Northwest

What are initiatives and referendums?, from
“Like many states, Washington’s Constitution provides both an initiative and a referendum process.  Both processes are a form of direct democracy allowing citizens to participate in the legislative process…”
CLP: Not Oregon but Washington explains it well


Oregon State Social Science Standards

8.8 Evaluate information from a variety of sources and perspectives.
8.14 Explain rights and responsibilities of citizens.
8.21 Analyze important political and ethical values such as freedom, democracy, equality, and justice embodied in documents such as the Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution, and the Bill of Rights.
8.25 Critique data for point of view, historical context, distortion, or propaganda and relevance.
8.26 Examine a controversial event, issue, or problem from more than one perspective.
8.27 Examine the various characteristics, causes, and effects of an event, issue, or problem.
8.28 Investigate a response or solution to an issue or problem and support or oppose, using research.

HS.28 Evaluate how governments interact at the local, state, tribal, national, and global levels.
HS.29 Examine the structures and functions of Oregon’s state, county, local and regional governments.
HS.30 Analyze the roles and activities of political parties, interest groups and mass media and how they affect the beliefs and behaviors of local, state, and national constituencies.
HS.33 Explain the role of government in various current events.
HS.34 Explain the responsibilities of citizens (e.g., vote, pay taxes).
HS.57 Define, research, and explain an event, issue, problem or phenomenon and its significance to society.
HS.58 Gather, analyze, use and document information from various sources, distinguishing facts, opinions, inferences, biases, stereotypes, and persuasive appeals.
HS.59 Demonstrate the skills and dispositions needed to be a critical consumer of information.
HS.60. Analyze an event, issue, problem, or phenomenon from varied or opposing perspectives or points of view.
HS.61 Analyze an event, issue, problem, or phenomenon, identifying characteristics, influences, causes, and both short- and long-term effects.
HS.62 Propose, compare, and judge multiple responses, alternatives, or solutions to issues or problems; then reach an informed, defensible, supported conclusion.
HS.63. Engage in informed and respectful deliberation and discussion of issues, events, and ideas.


We the People Lesson Connections

Middle School, Level 2

  • Unit 6, Lesson 29: What are the rights and responsibilities of citizenship?
  • Unit 6, Lesson 30: How might citizens participate in civic affairs?

High School, Level 3

  • Unit 6, Lesson 34: What is the importance of civic engagement to American constitutional democracy?
  • Unit 6, Lesson 37: What key challenges does the United States face in the future?