Gov. John Kitzhaber announces $1.9 billion health care agreement with federal government

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In The Oregonian, Michele Cole reports that, “Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber has struck a deal with the federal government that is worth $1.9 billion over the next five years.”

Gov. John Kitzhaber cleared his calendar and traveled to D.C. this week to finalize a health care agreement with the Obama administration.

Gov. John Kitzhaber cleared his calendar and traveled to D.C. this week to finalize a health care agreement with the Obama administration. Michael Lloyd/The Oregonian

She adds:

Kitzhaber, who cleared this week’s calendar and flew to Washington Tuesday, announced an agreement with the Obama Administration on a new coordinated health care system intended to reduce costs but provide better care for the state’s 600,000 Medicaid patients.

A statement released Thursday morning from D.C. spells out the terms: An initial $620 million investment from the federal government to come in 2013, with $1.9 billion expected over five years. With the money and a new coordinated care system, Oregon expects to save $11 billion in the next decade.

The deal was crucial not just for the medical status of Oregon’s poor but for the state’s financial health. Without the deal and the infusion of federal money, Oregon’s budget for the next fiscal year would have exploded.

“If we didn’t get this, the (health care) providers would have been looking at another 30 percent cut and our Medicaid program would have started unraveling,” Kitzhaber said in an interview with The Oregonian before catching his flight home.

Despite a powerful mix of financial and political currents as well as unmovable deadlines and unexpected delays, Kitzhaber said he was confident a deal would be struck.

“I always believed we would get here because the program makes so much sense,” he said, noting that in return for $620 million in federal dollars in the next fiscal year Oregon promises to reduce overall Medicaid costs by 2 percent.

“Part of the lure for them is, not only is this a real life demonstration of what they’re trying to do at the federal level, but we’ve committed to improve health outcomes and reduce costs by 2 percentage points,” he Kitzhaber said. “So, at the end of two years if we haven’t made that reduction then we don’t get any more money.”

“This is a defining moment for health care transformation in Oregon, and the Obama Administration is a true partner in our efforts to reduce health care costs while improving care,” Kitzhaber said in the statement.

  1. Rick Ray
    Rick Ray05-05-2012

    There’s an interesting background article in today’s Oregonian.

  2. Rick Ray
    Rick Ray05-06-2012

    And here’s The Oregonian’s editorial.

  3. Mary Miller
    Mary Miller05-06-2012

    I am sighing. My husband and I shamefully moved back here thinking that OMAP (which was the Oregon health care system) had been fixed. The reality? Two disabled people found that the state had marched backwards in caring (at all) for the disabled (pride? what pride??) found that we had been mistaken in our love for each other (to gasp, marry), and now one of us has medical health care coverage with a care attendant, the other, well, not so much…He was over budgeted by the feds in his SSDI (how dare they pay him money???) So now, we have to borrow from “peter to pay for paul” for everything, most of our medical care not covered, and screw the fact we may need a social worker, there are non to be found, if your IQ is over 70, or your age over 24.

    We would be better off, if we weren’t intelligent, if we would just buck up and be ‘normal’, and don’t ask SDS for anything, because they can’t do an asset analysis to save their rears….Our food stamp (despite large paying out for supplements and medical supplies) is almost 0.

    Please remind me…we moved here because in 1994, care wasn’t perfect but the state had better integration of disabled folks, had them actually on committees to address congress (no more) for better treatment, and now? Well, we’d be better off if they just lined us up against the wall and aimed and fired….We can’t get help traversing the system, we can’t get support, and medical care? Apparently “skin out”, because I have yet had a doctor take a temperature, do an MRI without serious demand (finally ONE was taken), and a whole lot of “where does the boo-boo hurt”, or “I am a sneeze and sniffle doctor…” (the last one came out of a OMG doctor’s mouth).

    Yes, those of us who are ‘complex’, don’t stand a chance right now…

    Respectfully (and regretting my actions),
    Mary Miller