$433 million health care tax passes House

Predatory tax increase on health care will cause many working Oregonians to lose coverage
By Oregon House Republican Office,

SALEM””House Republicans today unsuccessfully opposed a $433 million tax increase that will raise the costs of health care, expand bureaucracy and cause more Oregonians to lose their health insurance coverage. The plan includes a new tax on health insurance premiums paid by small- and medium-sized businesses that are already struggling to maintain and provide coverage for their employees. “The Democrats’ predatory tax increase will hurt small businesses and many Oregonians who depend on their jobs for health insurance coverage,” said Rep. Ron Maurer (R-Grants Pass), Vice Chair of the House Health Care Committee. “By passing the tax increase directly to small businesses, the plan threatens Oregonians who are most likely to lose their coverage because of the rising costs of insurance.”
As a small business owner, House Republican Leader Bruce Hanna (R-Roseburg) said the Democrats’ plan will force many employers to make a painful choice.

“Legislators who’ve never owned a business would never understand this, but it’s pretty simple,” Rep. Hanna said. “If faced with increased health insurance costs, like my business has, a business will be forced to do one of two things: drop health insurance coverage for employees or layoff employees to maintain coverage.”

Rep. Jim Thompson (R-Dallas) said that much of the revenue from the tax increase will be used to fund expanded or entirely new government bureaucracy. In fact, the plan creates 13 new bureaucracies to administer dozens of new and existing programs.

“This plan sets Oregon down the path of socialized medicine,” said Rep. Thompson, a House Health Care Committee member. “Rather than reducing health care costs, the plan takes more money from Oregonians and sticks government bureaucrats between patients and their doctors.”

Rep. Dennis Richardson (R-Central Point) said the plan will create a massive new bureaucracy that will regulate private businesses at the same time it is developing and marketing its own insurance products. This will create a “stacked deck” that will force more private insurers out of Oregon and force more Oregonians to become clients of government-run health insurance.

“This plan will cost too much, will drive private insurers out of the market and will leave Oregonians with an unwanted, unsustainable and ill-conceived government-run health care system,” said Rep. Richardson, a member of the Joint Ways and Means Human Services Subcommittee.

Republicans sought to give Oregonians a voice on the plan by referring it to voters, yet majority Democrats rejected the motion on a partisan vote. Democrats also rejected a motion to advance a bill allowing Oregonians to deduct their insurance premiums from their overall tax liability.