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Gov. Kitzhaber Honored by First Lady

EUGENE, Ore. — Governor Kitzhaber has one of the best seats in the house Tuesday night. He was invited to sit with the first lady at the State of the Union Address.

Michelle Obama noted that the governor’s innovative plans for health care earned him his ticket to one of the most important speeches of the year.

One of President Obama’s legacies revolves around his commitment to overhauling health care in the United States.

One of his favorite ideas is to cut costs on health care comes from Oregon’s own Governor John Kitzhaber. The president likes the governor’s ideas so much, he has given nearly $2 billion of federal money to Oregon to put Kitzhaber’s plan into place.

“I think Oregon is really the model, and I do believe that other states will come and study what Oregon has done and our look at our successes,” said Debi Farr, PR Specialist at Trillium Community Health Plan.

The governor’s plan calls for local communities to create coordinated care organizations. These organizations offer a more comprehensive look at health care with an emphasis on prevention and proactive health measures.

Farr says Kitzhaber’s idea cuts costs by avoiding preventable trips to the doctor.

“Health care costs are spiraling out of control, and the way that we can keep and the way that we can really make a difference in lowering the cost of health care is if we keep sick people from getting sicker,” Farr said.

Along with prevention measures, Kitzhaber’s plan also takes a more serious look at mental health. Under the governor’s plan– the coordinated care organizations integrate coverage to include behavioral health issues.

“What’s really important is that we look at the whole person, that we look at their physical health, their mental health,” Farr said.

President Obama is looking to states’ plans for curing the nation’s health care woes. Perhaps Kitzhaber’s ideas will lay the foundation for the rest of the country.

Local health care providers say that the governor has applauded Lane County’s implementation of coordinated care organizations. They say preventing health issues is really the key to avoiding the debt caused by health care coverage.

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