January 9th, 2018
Here in rural Oregon we are no strangers to the right seizing power to slash budgets, privatize services, and fight for regressive economic policies that hurt the most vulnerable in our communities. With the Trump administration targeting and scapegoating immigrants and refugees, the door is open for these attacks to multiply on the state and local levels, undermining our democracy and our values. Look no further than Measure 101 for healthcare and you can see how anti-immigrant rhetoric is being used to mobilize voters and to advance a narrative that immigrants are the reason why our economies are hurting, our neighbors are struggling to make ends meet, and our access to quality healthcare in rural Oregon is eroding. If Measure 101 fails, we will surely be feeling the impact for elections to come.
Ballots are arriving in our mailboxes and rural Oregonians are ready to talk about what Measure 101 means for our communities — and often small town progressives are the only local source for good information about what the ballot measure will mean for their communities! Folks across the state are knocking on doors, calling lists of voters most likely to support M101, and sharing information with our groups, our congregations and in line at the grocery store. Measure 101 is part of the Health Care Protection Act, passed by the Oregon Legislature and supported by leaders of both parties. A “Yes!” vote affirms the law and turns back a right-wing attack on healthcare. We have two weeks left to ensure our state has the funding necessary to provide healthcare to those who need it most and that our rural hospitals and clinics can continue to provide the care every Oregonian deserves.
How does Measure 101 work?
According to the Oregon Center for Public Policy, “Measure 101 raises between $210 million and $320 million for health care from the Oregon health care industry by increasing an assessment on large hospitals and reinstating a type of assessment on health insurance companies that had expired. Specifically, the measure adds 0.7 percent to the existing 5.3 percent hospital assessment. The measure also establishes a 1.5 percent assessment on health insurers, managed care companies including coordinated care organizations, and the Public Employees Benefit Board. The previous health insurance company assessment, which helped pay for health care in Oregon, expired in 2014.”
Both policy analysts and legislators who participated in drafting the Health Care Protection Act agree that if Measure 101 fails there is no secret pot of replacement funding that can be used for a “Plan B.” If Measure 101 fails, we lose 5 billion dollars in federal funding, or one third of the funding needed to provide coverage for those on Medicaid (Oregon Health Plan) and the legislative session coming up will be spent making hard choices as to where to make those cuts. In order to fund Medicaid if Measure 101 does not pass, we will be faced with the possibility of cutting funds to education, public safety and other necessary services instead, putting further strain on our rural economies. Funds generated by Measure 101 can only legally be spent on healthcare, so money generated through the tax can’t be transferred.
Learn more about Measure 101 and ways rural Oregonians and human dignity groups are taking action in their towns! Last month we put out a detailed ROPnet with more background information on Measure 101 and ways that human dignity groups and rural Oregonians are taking action.
What will Measure 101 do for rural Oregon? Here’s a quick snapshot! It will…
- Protect healthcare access for 1 in 4 Oregonians who count on Medicaid (the Oregon Health Plan). In some rural counties, more than one third of families rely on Medicaid!
- Ensure every Oregon child has access to healthcare
- Preserve healthcare for our most vulnerable Oregonians: children, seniors, and people with disabilities
Stabilize healthcare costs and insurance premiums for people who buy their own insurance
- Keep low income Oregonians on expanded health insurance through the Oregon Health Plan by leveraging $9.40 of Federal dollars for every 60 cents raised by Measure 101
- Create widespread healthcare coverage with little expense. Measure 101 does this by establishing a fee on insurance companies, hospitals, and managed care organizations that pays for Medicaid to ensure basic healthcare is affordable and accessible to every Oregonian
The best way to ensure a victory for Measure 101 (and build support for our local groups) is to talk to our neighbors! Voters are more likely to receive and consider information provided if it is personalized and comes from a trusted source or someone they know. Your local human dignity group can be that trusted source! When a voter receives a call from a local group in their community or receives a piece of literature with your groups logo on it, they know there are people in their community who care about the issue. Human dignity leaders are using this election moment not only to talk to voters and promote a Yes vote on Measure 101, but also as a way engage with like-minded people in the community and find supporters for on-going local organizing.
Read on for more specific opportunities to talk to voters in your community:
1. Organize an event with others or make calls on your own. ROP can provide a call list and script for you and your group. We can tailor the call list based on your preferences: do you want to reach out to younger voters? Or people not likely to vote in this election? Or another demographic in your town? In only 1 ½ hours you can reach 25 of your neighbors and encourage them to vote yes on Measure 101. Many people are not tracking this measure, so a simple reminder and a few details on the Measure is all that is needed to add one more vote! You can view the example call script here and contact email@example.com with questions.
2. Turn M101 outreach into your group’s newest recruitment strategy. The script and call list that ROP can provide you with can be personalized to reflect your group. In addition to encouraging a Yes! vote on Measure 101, this can also be an opportunity to meet supporters and your next human dignity groups members! The call script incorporates an invitation to learn more about your local group and get folks signed up on your list. While getting confirmation on someone’s vote may only take a few minutes, having a more in depth conversation could form the foundation of a new group member or even new team leader.
3.Join pre-organized campaign events. The Yes on Measure 101 campaign is organizing doorknocking, phone banking and more in these communities: Eugene, Bend, Corvallis, Coos Bay, Lincoln City, The Dalles, Medford, Salem, Hillsboro, Gresham or Portland. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about how to get involved with the campaign in your town.
A few things to know about talking with voters:
- Ballots need to be received (not postmarked) by January 23rd. Mail it in advance so it arrives on time or drop if off at an official ballot drop box location any time before 8PM on election day. Click here for a list of official Oregon ballot drop locations.
- Registered Oregon voters who haven’t updated their voter registration information can still vote until 8PM on January 23rd, but it will take time to update your information and receive a ballot. Update your registration here.
- It’s too late to register to vote for M101 if you are not already a registered voter in Oregon, but May elections are coming up! New voters can register online here.
We have just over 2 weeks to secure healthcare for every Oregonian, and we know that we all do better when we all do better! Please reach out if you are looking for additional resources and share your organizing stories with us by emailing email@example.com.
Hannah, Cara, Emma, Nancy and the ROP Team
Special thanks to Nancy Greenman, dear friend of ROP and a longtime Human Dignity Leader, for her insights and assistance with the content of this ROPnet.