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.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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