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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.