Senate Democratic majority leader Kate Brown promised, at a public meeting in Portland last year, that she would vote against any cuts to the Oregon Health Plan. Then she, and the other Democratic state legislators, voted for a plan that cut OHP.
Here's some recent history.
In 2002 the state legislature passed a tax increase and referred it to the voters, who rejected it in January 2003. That was Measure 28.
In 2003 Democrat and "moderate" Republican state legislators got together and passed a plan to increase taxes to avoid cuts in education, human services -- including the Oregon Health Plan -- and public safety. They did not refer it to the voters this time, but they had to know that conservatives would gather petition signatures and refer it to the voters, and that it would fail. Which Measure 30 did this month. How could they not know, after what happened to Measure 28?
Part of the deal was a list of automatic budget cuts in education, human services and public safety that would happen if the tax plan was referred to the voters and failed. Now these cuts are happening. One of the cuts will abolish the Oregon Health Plan "standard" program for low income adults. The Oregon Health Plan is an expanded version of the federal-state Medicaid program. As of August 1st the expanded part is dead, and OHP will revert to just plain Medicaid, whether they change the name or not. It will only cover federally mandated people -- disabled, blind, elderly, welfare -- and the rest of us are left with no medical insurance. OHP is dead.
The Democrats agreed to the automatic cuts if the tax increase went down, knowing it would. They ran a game on us where they presented themselves as the saviors of human services while setting us up for the cuts. The Republicans, who have been wanting to destroy the Oregon Health Plan for years, won, and the Democratic legislators helped them do it. But the Democrats can act innocent and say no, we didn't do it, the voters did it.
What should they have done instead? They should have refused to pass any plan -- they had the votes -- that would cut human services necessary for survival. They should have given those services priority over everything else. The only deal they should have made was to fully fund essential human services needed to keep people alive out of available revenue, make all the automatic cuts in education and public safety, and dedicate the tax increase to prevent those cuts. That way if the tax increase went down essential human services wouldn't be cut. Democratic legislators should have made survival their highest priority.
Yes that might have meant no deal with the Republicans and brought state government to a screeching halt for a while. I would have much preferred that to having no medical insurance. The Democrats were not willing to draw the line and defend us. Instead they made a deal. They agreed to kill people. I'm not voting for any more Democrats. They pretend to be our friends and then they betray us. So I'll use my vote any way I can to hurt them.