New Oregon Health Care Taxes Heading to the Ballot?

Date: August 02, 2017



Oregonians may be voting on another ballot measure sooner than they thought. On July 3, Gov. Kate Brown signed HB 2391 into law, a bill that raises hundreds of millions in new taxes on health care to fund the Oregon Health Plan, Oregon’s Medicaid program. Now an effort is underway to refer parts of the bill to Oregon voters in a special election on January 23, 2018, if opponents of the new taxes are successful in gathering the requisite number of signatures.

House Republicans Rep. Julie Parrish, Rep. Sal Esquivel, and Rep. Cedric Hayden have already begun gathering signatures, according to The Oregonian. Parrish described the premium tax as “a sales tax on healthcare, and worse, it’s a sales tax only for those who buy their insurance in the marketplace.”

Parrish is referencing the 1.5 percent tax on managed care and commercial insurance premiums – the plans that most small businesses owners purchase to cover themselves and their employees. Self-insured plans would not be subject to the new tax, allowing larger businesses to avoid the increase in health care costs.

NFIB/Oregon strongly opposed HB 2391. “A tax on health insurance premiums, at a time when premiums continue to rise on their own, can only add to the increasingly unaffordability of health care for small businesses, their owners, and their employees,” wrote NFIB/Oregon state director Anthony K. Smith, in a letter to legislators. “It’s difficult to imagine a scenario where visits to the doctor wouldn’t cost more for the estimated 250,000+ Oregonians who could be negatively impacted by this bill.”

For more information on the effort to send the premium tax to voters in January, or to sign a petition, visit


Related Content: Small Business News | Healthcare | Oregon

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