In DC, Kitzhaber endorses American Jobs Act and talks health transformation

Kari Chisholm FacebookTwitterWebsite

Last week, Governor John Kitzhaber was in Washington DC. He took the opportunity to endorse the American Jobs Act, proposed by President Obama, noting that it would create nearly 9000 jobs in Oregon:

The American Jobs Act will translate into almost 9,000 jobs for vital transportation, school infrastructure projects for idle construction workers, funding for our schools and incentives for small businesses to put people back to work. ...

In an economic crisis we need to be investing in the economy--we need to be investing in job creation and I think the American Jobs Act is exactly what we need at the right time and certainly for Oregon and I think for America.

Watch the video for his full comments.

While in DC, the Governor also gave a speech on the health care system, telling folks from other states about the health transformation project undertaken by Oregon via legislation passed last session.

From the State Column:

“Doing things differently — transforming the system — involves reorganizing the delivery system to get at the root causes of medical inflation: overutilization; the lack of true prevention; and poor service integration and care coordination between the acute and post-acute system,” Mr. Kitzhaber said.

“There is clear waste and inefficiency in the system and as a state – and a nation – we cannot afford to pay for it anymore,” the Oregon Democrat added.

Mr. Kitzhaber’s appearance comes as the state of Oregon has recently passed legislation that will change how the state handles health care costs.

Back home, Kitzhaber spoke with the Health Insurance Exchange about his DC trip. From the Lund Report's Amanda Waldroupe:

Leaders from other states are interested in Oregon’s insurance exchange, particularly since it passed the legislature with bipartisan support, which Kitzhaber said, “seems unthinkable in many other parts of the country.” ...

Liz Baxter, who chairs the board, asked Kitzhaber how Oregon’s attempts at healthcare reform could be hampered with the looming federal deficit, the political gridlock in Washington D.C., and court challenges to President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

“We have great support with this administration, and deep support within CMS [the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services],” he responded. “Their inclination right now would be to give us whatever flexibility we need.”

Because of the political uncertainty with the presidential election and the fact that Dr. Don Berwick, administrator of CMS, may have to step down in January unless he’s confirmed by the Senate, Kitzhaber said that Oregon needs to get a lot done before next November.

“If we demonstrate that we still have our act together, and that we still have bipartisan support, we can continue on, regardless of the political outcome.”


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