Controversial January election over Oregon health tax passes

SALEM — Oregon Democrats have given the green light for a possible special election in January over a newly-approved health care tax to fund Medicaid that three Republicans are trying to block.

The tentative election set for Jan. 23, 2018 was established in Senate Bill 229, which passed the Legislature Thursday along party lines.

The election applies only to House Bill 2391, which Republican Reps. Julie Parrish, Cedric Hayden and Sal Esquivel are trying to challenge at the ballot. Normally, the bill's fate would be decided in November 2018, but Democrats say that's too long for thousands of Medicaid recipients to be in limbo over their health care.

If the Republicans gather enough signatures this fall, the new health care tax would be placed on hold until voters decide its fate in January.

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