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Census data on health coverage shows need for Measure 97

News Release
September 13, 2016

Statement by policy analyst Janet Bauer

While health insurance coverage markedly improved last year, many Oregonians still lack coverage. Oregonians must take decisive steps if we are to make sure that everyone in our state has the basic protection of health insurance. One of those steps is the enactment of Measure 97.

The share of Oregonians with health insurance reached 93 percent in 2015, up from 90.3 percent in 2014. Without question, credit for this improvement goes to the federal Affordable Care Act, which has helped hundreds of thousands in Oregon gain coverage since the law took effect in 2010.

As beneficial as the Affordable Care Act has been, federal and state policies still leave some Oregonians without insurance. There are gaps that prevent Oregon from reaching full coverage.

Making sure all Oregonians get the care they need will require that Oregon step up and finish the job. According to today’s Census figures, there were 280,000 Oregonians without health insurance in 2015. That is more than the populations of Eugene and Bend combined. The lack of health insurance puts people’s health and economic security at risk.

Measure 97 could go a long way in helping Oregon reach the goal of everyone having the basic protection of health insurance. The measure proposes to raise taxes on C-corporations with more than $25 million in Oregon sales, and direct the revenue to education, senior services and healthcare. With the health and economic security of so many uninsured Oregonians at risk, the need for Measure 97 is clear.