Kaboom. Kitzhaber comes home from DC with $1.9 billion for health care in Oregon.

Kari Chisholm FacebookTwitterWebsite

Wow. Earlier this week, Governor John Kitzhaber cleared his schedule and took off for Washington DC to meet with administration officials on health care. You'd be forgiven if you thought that looked like panic - was the administration going to reject the health reforms passed in the last legislative session?

Well, that reaction would have been exactly wrong. Instead, Kitzhaber returns home with a $1.9 billion commitment - including $620 million in the 2012-2013 fiscal year. From his statement, posted at Lund Report:

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has given preliminary approval of a five-year, $1.9 billion demonstration of a Federal-State partnership to transform the way that care is delivered in Oregon's Medicaid program. The initial investment of $620 million in the second year of the State’s current biennium will allow Oregon’s new care organizations to better deliver higher-quality, coordinated care for Medicaid patients while reducing preventable errors. Oregon estimates that this will achieve $11 billion in savings over the next decade.

“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,” said Governor Kitzhaber. “With unprecedented collaboration between local communities, health care providers and our federal partners, Oregon is on the right track to create a system that will both improve care and reduce costs.”

There's more from the AP's JJ Cooper:

The Obama administration is buying into an ambitious health care initiative in Oregon, announcing Thursday that it's tentatively agreed to chip in $1.9 billion over five years to help get the program off the ground.

Oregon hopes to prove that states can save billions on Medicaid without sacrificing the quality of health care. Democratic Gov. John Kitzhaber's plan would invest in preventive care to keep patients healthy so they don't need expensive hospitalizations.

He wants it to be a model that other states adopt as they struggle with budget deficits and rising Medicaid costs. The federal government could save $1.5 trillion over the next 10 years if all 50 states adopted Oregon's approach, the governor said.

Once again, Oregon leads the nation on health care. I have to say -- it's great having a world-class health care policy wonk at the helm.

Update: There's some good analysis from the O's Jeff Mapes. He notes that this isn't the same as "bringing home the bacon". Rather, the Obama Administration is investing $1.9 billion in Oregon over five years in order to put into place a program that will save the federal and state governments some $11 billion over the next ten years.

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    This is way cool! My own hope is that this will be the groundwork for establishing a single payer structure that will be available to all Oregonians.

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    I believe we are on the right track. Let's hope the rest of the country catches up.

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    Good luck to those working to make this program (and its savings) a reality.

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    This is exactly the way your REALLY Governorate. I'm proud to have voted for Governor K this time.

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