Oregon Governor, State Lawmakers May Raise Taxes To Fund Medicaid

The Oregonian has reported Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, state lawmakers and healthcare industry officials may be nearing a deal that would prevent the state from having to make cuts to its Medicaid program in the next two-year budget plan. The state general budget fund is facing a $1.6 billion hole in the next two years, while the Oregon Health Authority budget is also facing a $882 million shortfall. According to Democratic budget writers, unless $575 million in new revenue can somehow be generated, 350,000 low-income Oregonians are at risk of being thrown off Medicaid. State Republicans, however, “panned the threat to cut Medicaid as a scare tactic, pointing out the state only has to find $256 million to preserve the current coverage level.” Brown, lawmakers and health officials are considering “a tax increase on hospital services and a new tax on insurance premiums to shore up the Oregon Health Authority budget.”