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Oregon Voters Pass Measure 111 to Guarantee Affordable Medical Care

Oregon is now the first U.S. state to guarantee health care after voters passed Ballot Measure 111
Leo Timm
Leo Timm covers China-related news, culture, and history. Follow him on Twitter at @kunlunpeaks
Published: November 17, 2022
A view of the Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) campus in southwest Portland, Oregon, in 2009. (Image: Richard Eriksson/via Flickr/CC BY 2.0)

In the latest midterm elections, Oregon voters passed Ballot Measure 111 by a narrow 50.7-percent majority. The measure creates a constitutional right to affordable health care for all Oregonians, making Oregon the first U.S. state to do so.

“It is the obligation of the state to ensure that every resident of Oregon has access to cost-effective, clinically appropriate and affordable health care as a fundamental right,” the state constitution now reads.

While the constitution has been amended, the state government has yet to go in the details of its implementation.

“The measure’s long-term impact on Oregon health care is unclear because it doesn’t prescribe how the state should ensure that everyone has affordable health care,” reports the Oregon Capital Chronicle, a non-profit news outlet that focuses on the Beaver state’s politics, policies, and government.

Measure 111 began as a joint resolution proposed by state Rep. Rob Nosse and state Sen. Elizabeth Steiner Hayward, both Democrats. It was approved by the Legislature in 2021 and went to the ballot for the midterms.

Oregonians also voted narrowly to pass Measure 114 limiting gun magazines to 10 rounds in capacity but avoids the cosmetic “assault weapon” bans associated with New York and California.

The gun safety measure was championed by urban voters, who have faced mounting levels of violence amid worsening unrest in their communities, and strongly opposed throughout the rest of the state, the Capital Chronicle noted.

While Democratic gubernational candidate Tina Kotek defeated her opponent Christina Drazan, the Republican managed more than 43 percent of the state vote, a rare challenge to the Democrats’ dominance in Oregon.

On Nov. 13, Republican Lori Chavez-DeRemer won the election to represent Oregon’s 5th Congressional District, flipping one of Oregon’s five House seats for her party. Chavez-DeRemer is the first Latina to serve as a U.S. Representative for the state.