Proposal From Former Oregon Governor To Reform State Health Care System Examined
Matt Miller, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, in the Oct. 3 issue of Fortune examined a proposal by former Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber (D) to reform the state health care system. According to Miller, Kitzhaber, who served as governor of Oregon between 1995 and 2003 and led "Oregon's innovative Medicaid reform" efforts in the early 1990s, has worked with private- and public-sector groups to develop a framework for the proposal.
Under the proposal, Miller writes, the state would combine and redirect the $6.3 billion in public funds available for health insurance in Oregon -- which include Medicare and Medicaid funds, as well as tax subsidies for employer-sponsored coverage -- to provide basic health insurance for all state residents. In addition, the proposal would allow Oregon residents to purchase additional health coverage, Miller writes.
Meanwhile, according to Miller, Kitzhaber has launched a campaign from a local foundation that he directs to place the proposal on the Oregon ballot, "with details to be worked out in legislation." Miller adds that the proposal would require a federal waiver, which would "thus force Washington -- and the press -- to compare Oregon's idea with health care's insane status quo in ways that finally get people's attention" (Miller, Fortune, 10/3).