Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber’s visit to Washington, D.C., is enormously significant. With Dr. Bruce Goldberg in tow, Kitzhaber is seeking a waiver from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

While national attention is focused on the Supreme Court’s review of the Obama health plan, Oregon’s push toward coordinated care organizations (CCO) marks the future of health care. While the Obama plan is about how we pay for health care, the CCOs are about how good that care is and how much it costs.

The federal Medicare waiver, if it is granted, will lead to better primary care of a population that is too frequently isolated, because the mental health and health care sides of care don’t communicate in a coordinated fashion.

If Oregon is allowed to move forward with CCOs, Clatsop County will see one of them. Tyler Graf described this potential outcome in two articles, Wednesday and April 4.

Gov. Kitzhaber’s great contribution to Oregon government has been the Oregon Health Plan and now this latest push. While the nation remains fractious about the future of health care, Oregon has made sensible and bold choices. We will move ahead.

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