Oregon boasts one of the lowest rates of uninsured residents of any state in the country, thanks in large part to an aggressive campaign to add more low income families to the Medicaid rolls. Now, though, the cost of insuring so many extra people is catching up and there’s a ballot to be decided soon on just how the state will pay for these services moving forward.
While the federal government has a matching program for Medicare and Medicaid services, the state has to be able to fund it on their end first, otherwise it stands to lose those extra federal dollars. The ballot measure voters head to the polls on Tuesday, January 23, 2018 to decide, will weigh an option to add a tax on hospitals, insurers, and managed care companies to raise the funds.
If the state fails to pass this ballot measure, it could lead to significant losses from the federal government, which could mean dire consequences for the residents who rely on Medicare and Medicaid for their health care. According to the CT Post in the blog, Oregon voters to decide on Medicaid funding as costs rise, written by Gillian Flaccus:
“The loss of that revenue could jeopardize an additional $630 million to $960 million in federal Medicaid matching funds that flow to the poorest in the state, according to the nonpartisan voter pamphlet. That possibility prompted the very hospitals and health insurers who would be taxed to come out as the measure’s biggest backers. They say the cost of the taxes would be less than that of uninsured emergency-room visits.
The ballot measure arose from a grassroots campaign to put parts of a bipartisan legislative funding solution passed last year before voters. Republican Rep. Julie Parrish and several colleagues were angered by portions of the bill that exempt large, self-insured corporations like Nike from Medicaid taxes but not Oregonians who buy insurance on health care exchanges.”
While hospitals and insurers fully support the measure, being that a 1.5% tax would be more cost-effective than people heading to emergency rooms once again for basic illnesses, a failure to pass this measure could directly impact men and women who rely on home care as well.
Some of these short and long-term services are covered by Medicaid and insurance policies, but if the state doesn’t have the funds for all those relying on Medicare and Medicaid, it could lead to fewer services or hours allowed when any one of those men or women require in home care support.
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