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Friday, February 22, 2013

Eyes On Oregon’s $1.9 Billion Medicaid Experiment

Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber speaks during a press conference in Portland, Ore. on May 4, 2012, after securing key federal financial backing for the revamp of the Oregon Health Plan that was approved by the state Legislature earlier in the year. (Don Ryan/AP)

Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber speaks during a press conference in Portland, Ore. on May 4, 2012, after securing key federal financial backing for the revamp of the Oregon Health Plan that was approved by the state Legislature earlier in the year. (Don Ryan/AP)

Facing a $2 billion hole in the state Medicaid budget, Oregon’s Democratic Governor John Kitzhaber – a former emergency room doctor – struck a deal with the White House in May 2012.

The Obama administration agreed to give Oregon $1.9 billion over five years, but the state has to make sure its Medicaid budget growth is two percent slower than the rest of the country.

It’s part of Kitzhaber’s health care reform plan that divides the state into 15 regions called coordinated care organizations.

The idea is to keep people from relying on emergency rooms for care.

“We created a model that focuses on prevention and wellness and the community-based management of chronic conditions, which drives the bulk of medical costs,” Kitzhaber told Here & Now’s Robin Young.

Now, eyes are on Oregon as a possible model for health care reform.

Guest:

  • John Kitzhaber, the Governor of Oregon and a former emergency room physician.

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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