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Letter to the Editor: Assessment

To the editor:

Please vote Yes on Measure 101. Ballots go out Jan. 3 and must be turned in by the 23rd.

Measure 101 protects the expansion of Medicaid (the OHP) in Oregon.

Currently in our state, 95 percent of us have insurance (privately, employer, Medicare, Medicaid) and 100 percent of children are covered (if not by a parent's plan then by Medicaid). This measure will assess a 1.5 percent fee on hospitals and other providers, the money raised will be matched at leastfour to one by federal dollars, and all the money raised has to go to healthcare. It can't be diverted to any other use.

This measure was crafted by the legislature with the participation of the very organizations that will have to pay the fee, passed by the legislature through a bipartisan process and both Republicans and Democrats voted for it. The measure is supported by a long list of organizations, including every single hospital in the state.

Fifteen percent of the people in Oregon are insured through the expansion of Medicaid. In Wasco County, 12.4 percent of us are. That's a lot of your friends and neighbors, including me. But, this isn't just about me. If hospitals and providers lose a large chunk of their customers they may have to cut back services, fire employees, close clinics and hospitals in rural areas, raise prices.

And that will have an effect on all of us, not just whether or not we will be able to get services locally, but the effect on the economy could be significant with lost jobs and more people getting sick and injured without getting care. That affects you whether you are covered by Medicaid or not.

It's weird to have a ballot coming in January but please keep an eye out for it, and please vote Yes for Healthcare.

Serena Smith

The Dalles


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