By Peter Nordbye, Chair of Clackamas County Democratic Party
On the day after the resounding victory of the passage of Ballot Measure 101, I reflect on some of the issues surrounding this victory.
First and foremost, Oregonians can take pride in stepping up and supporting our legislature’s efforts to ensure healthcare for those in most need. Because of this overwhelming vote in favor of Measure 101, over 400,000 Oregonians are protected, who would have been denied, the healthcare marketplace can be stabilized, and our legislature can focus on solving other problems facing our state.
The “Yes” vote is a classic example of a “win-win” for Oregonians.
Many people and groups can take credit for this healthcare-for-all victory. The organization “Yes for Healthcare” implemented a highly successful campaign. The Neighborhood Leader Program not only activated a robust door-to-door campaign in Clackamas County but also throughout the state. Neighbors contacting neighbors is a powerful tool to get out the vote. Many individuals volunteered their time to support this successful campaign. I want to thank all those who participated and were the key to success.
There are concerns about the Measure 101 campaign worth noting. I am most concerned about the campaign strategies utilized by the opposition to passing the measure. Some of the issues are:
- Funding of the opposition. There is enough question about who funded the opposition and the relationship between the sponsors and the secretary of state that a thorough, transparent investigation would be appropriate.
- Ballot format. The opposition structured the ballot so that it would appear that a “Yes” vote would be a vote for a tax. The tax myth was a red herring from the start. The assessment on health providers was never a tax or structured as a tax. Again, the opposition relied on misinformation and deceit to present their case. Tricks should not determine election outcomes.
- Loss of coverage. The opposition never attempted to explain how Oregon would cover over 400,000 of its citizens who would lose healthcare. The opposition failed to mention that the legislature approved it by a two-thirds, bi-partisan majority. The opposition failed to mention that Oregon would lose federal matching funds by voting “No.” The list goes on. Misinformation should not determine election outcomes.
Oregon voters were not fooled by deceit and deception. Hundreds of thousands of our most vulnerable citizens will have health insurance. Thanks to our legislature and thanks to our volunteers who would not allow travesty. We let the rest of the country know that here in Oregon our citizens serve for the common good.