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Oregon leads country in innovative health care

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Monday, May 20, 2013

The past two years have seen two major health care experiments in Oregon.

One is the Oregon Health Insurance Experiment, the first randomized, controlled trial comparing Medicaid — or any kind of health insurance — with being uninsured. The other is Kitzhaber’s effort to rebuild the state’s Medicaid program around community health rather than individual fee-for-service treatments. The health-insurance experiment has gotten all the attention. But it’s the Medicaid reforms that really matter.

The Oregon health insurance experiment didn’t begin as an experiment. It began as a budget cut. From 2002 to 2008, Oregon threw 93,000 people out of its Medicaid program. In 2008, the state found it had enough money to add 10,000 of them back. The only fair thing to do, state officials figured, was draw straws. So 90,000 of the poorest residents of the richest country the world has ever known entered a lottery to win health insurance.

Read more at The Washington Post.

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