Obamacare Was on the Ballot Yesterday. It Won Overwhelmingly.

Again.

Barack Obama

Ralf Hirschberger/ZUMA

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

It turns out many Americans are big fans of Obamacare when they get a chance to vote on it. Voters in Oregon like Obamacare so much that they are willing to raise taxes to help pay for it.

On Tuesday, Oregonians overwhelmingly approved new taxes on hospitals and insurance companies, totaling $320 million, in order to fund Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion, which offers government-provided insurance to anyone making up to 138 percent of the federal poverty line. The measure passed with more than 60 percent of the vote. (The state legislature had already approved the new taxes, but Republican politicians forced the measure onto the ballot before it could be finalized.)

While much of the Obamacare debate has focused on the individual marketplaces set up by the law, the expansion of Medicaid has actually done more to increase access to insurance. More than 11 million people have signed up for Medicaid under the expansion. And that’s despite the fact that in 18 states, Republican governors and legislatures have blocked expansion. If the new Medicaid eligibility standards were applied across all 50 states, another 4.5 million people would be covered, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. 

The federal government is responsible for most of the costs of Medicaid expansion. For the initial years, the feds paid 100 percent of the costs for those newly enrolled in Medicaid. That will eventually fall to 90 percent after 2020, with states responsible for the other 10 percent of funding. The new taxes approved in Oregon this week are intended to pay for the state’s share of the costs. 

Until recently, the fate of Medicaid expansion has been in the hands of the federal government and state politicians. But there’s a growing movement to put that question in front of voters. Last November, a ballot initiative in Maine gave voters a chance to expand Medicaid in their state, and the measure was approved by nearly a 20-percentage-point margin. (Maine’s expansion is still on hold, though, thanks to stalling from the state’s Republican governor.)

Health care advocates in other states are following Maine’s lead and plan to directly ask voters about Medicaid expansion in the 2018 midterms. Earlier this month, activists in Idaho launched a campaign to get the 56,000 signatures needed to place an initiative on the ballot this fall. Groups in Utah, Florida, and Nebraska are also exploring the possibility of putting Medicaid expansion up for a vote in 2018.

THE TRUTH IS...

what drives Mother Jones' team of 50-plus journalists. The truth is powerful, as evidenced by how hard those with something to hide, or profit to gain, seek to discredit it. The truth, stated boldly and reported meticulously, is what draws so many readers to Mother Jones.

And the truth is, going into the final 4 days of the year we still needed to raise $TK to hit our $350,000 goal and start 2021 on track. It's nerve-wracking, wondering if the big spike we normally see at the end of December is going to be another thing that doesn't go as planned in 2020, or worse, if, now that Donald Trump is set to leave the White House (for longer than a taxpayer-funded golf trip to a property he owns), folks might be pulling back from fighting for the truth and a democracy and think the hard work is done.

It's not, and if you can right now, please consider a year-end donation to support our team's fearless nonprofit journalism so we can close that big fundraising gap and finish the year strong, ready for all that's ahead in 2021. Whether you can give $5 or $500, it all matters in keeping us charging hard, and we'd be grateful.

payment methods

THE TRUTH IS...

what drives Mother Jones' team of 50-plus journalists. The truth is powerful, as evidenced by how hard those with something to hide, or profit to gain, seek to discredit it. The truth, stated boldly and reported meticulously, is what draws so many readers to Mother Jones.

And the truth is, going into the final 4 days of the year we still needed to raise $TK to hit our $350,000 goal and start 2021 on track. It's nerve-wracking, wondering if the big spike we normally see at the end of December is going to be another thing that doesn't go as planned in 2020, or worse, if, now that Donald Trump is set to leave the White House (for longer than a taxpayer-funded golf trip to a property he owns), folks might be pulling back from fighting for the truth and a democracy and think the hard work is done.

It's not, and if you can right now, please consider a year-end donation to support our team's fearless nonprofit journalism so we can close that big fundraising gap and finish the year strong, ready for all that's ahead in 2021. Whether you can give $5 or $500, it all matters in keeping us charging hard, and we'd be grateful.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate