Oregon Gets $1.9 Billion for Health Care
The Health Care Compact replaces federally run Medicare and Medicaid programs with state-run programs funded by federal block grants. The idea is that each state should be in charge of its own health care policy, not the federal government. A good example of how this could work is what's happening in Oregon today.
Oregon has fashioned its own health care plan. Gov. John Kitzhaber would like for the state to manage health care in Oregon. But in order to do that, he needs waivers from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), and he needs money. This week, he got the money.
Jonathan J. Cooper, who covers Oregon politics for the Associated Press, sums up the sweetheart deal Oregon got from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:
Gov. John Kitzhaber has convinced the Obama administration that he can deliver better health care at a lower cost by investing in preventive care that reduces avoidable hospitalizations -- a model that's shown some success in pilot projects. But nobody's ever tried to do it for 600,000 patients on Medicaid.
The state announced Thursday [May 3] that the federal government had tentatively agreed to spend $1.9 billion over five years in exchange for a state commitment that it will ultimately save $11 billion over a decade.
Kitzhaber still needs to get a waiver from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid to get out of the ACA requirements, but Cooper suggests the waiver is a formality now that the White House administration has agreed to fund the experiment.
Jeffrey Young at The Huffington Post says the Oregon plan will "provide patients with assistance they don't currently get, such as caseworkers who will help set up doctor's appointments and make sure patients stay on the drugs their physicians prescribe."
Source: "With federal money, Oregon kicks health care reform into high gear," Associated Press, May 4, 2012.
Source: "Health Care Reform In Oregon Gets $1.9 Billion From U.S. For Poor Residents," The Huffington Post, May 3, 2012.
Image courtesy of OregonDOT used under its Creative Commons license.
Steve O'Keefe is a freelance writer, author and book editor.