Salem says it can expand health plan to 130,000 more

The Oregon Legislature's majority Democrats have announced a deal they say will bring state health insurance coverage to 80,000 more children and at least 50,000 more low-income Oregonians.

The proposal calls for raising taxes on hospital revenues and establishing a new tax on health insurance premiums to pay for the expansion.

Democratic lawmakers and Gov. Ted Kulongoski have been seeking a way to expand health coverage at a time when the struggling economy has left more people without it.

The House and Senate Democrats say they are ready to use their "supermajority" in the Legislature to enact those new taxes.

Republicans say the tax, and the Democrats' plan to create a new state office to guide an overhaul of Oregon's health care industry, should be placed on a statewide ballot.

— The Associated Press

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