Governor Kitzhaber signs bills to begin transforming health care in Oregon
Joined by an Oregon Health Plan client and an OHP provider, Governor Kitzhaber signed Senate Bill 99 and House Bill 3650 into law at the World Trade Center in downtown Portland on Friday, July 1. On a crisp and sunny morning, the Governor thanked legislators, advocates and the Oregon Health Policy Board for their guidance, patience and belief in Oregon's ability to pass this transformational health care legislation.
Both bills had overwhelming bi-partisan support.
Senate Bill 99 establishes the Oregon Health Insurance Exchange Corporation, which will develop a plan for Oregon's exchange. Through the exchange, individuals and small businesses will have access to high-quality, affordable health care through a central marketplace.
House Bill 3650 sets the stage to transform the care people receive through the Oregon Health Plan. Through local coordinated care organizations, Oregon will begin to deal seriously with the unnecessary costs that drain public dollars but do not improve health. We will work to reduce waste and inefficiency and begin delivering care in a way that emphasizes prevention, coordination of care, and local partnerships. The plan for implementing health system transformation will go before the Legislature in February 2012.
The Governor emphasized that the signing of these two bills is only the beginning, and that a lot of hard work is still ahead of us. It gives Oregon the opportunity to create a health system that improves the health of our citizens at a cost we can afford.
"The time is now, our action is clear, and this legislation is the next important step towards our shared vision of better care, better health, and lower costs," he said.
Gov. John Kitzhaber after signing SB 99 and HB 3650 with (l-r): Sen. Laurie Monnes Anderson (D), OHP client Kay Dickerson, Dr. Nick Gideonse, Rep. Tina Kotek (D), Sen. Frank Morse (R), Rep. Jim Thompson (R), Rep. Mitch Greenlick (D).