Kitzhaber leadership revisited

While Governor Brown’s response to the public employee union drafted Measure 97 has been hand wringing acceptance as “the only viable option”, former Governor Kitzhaber published a blog post today to express his opposition and his reasoning.

The problem he argues is the disconnect between education spending and funding. While local school districts set their budgets and negotiate their local contracts, it’s the State that provides the funding.  So districts “…regularly default to unsustainable contracts for existing employees with long-term costs that exceed state revenue growth.”

For this reason the former Governor concludes that we should reject Measure 97. He concludes:

“Any proposal for significantly increasing our investment in public education must address this problem—otherwise, we will simply perpetuate the education “funding crisis,” and no matter how much we add to the State School Fund, we will be unable to see smaller class sizes, longer school years; or improved high school graduation rates.”

The former Governor is not saying schools don’t need more funding. But he understands that passing a revenue package without addressing the fundamental problem that caused the financial crisis is unwise.

And in another Kitzhaber revisited story, Willamette Week reports on a new study released this week in regards to Kitzhabers health care reforms: From the story

This week, Portland State University and the Oregon Health Authority released a new study that is positive for the state’s looming Medicaid funding shortfall and for former Gov. John Kitzhaber’s legacy.

The study found that a key component of Kitzhaber’s healthcare reform package, so-called “patient centered primary care homes” have saved $240 million over three years by addressing Medicaid patients’ medical issues before they became acute.

“Oregon’s PCPCH program has been very successful in meeting the goals of cost effective, system wide care transformation,” the study found. “[It] resulted in $13 in savings in other services, such as specialty care, emergency department and inpatient care, for every $1 increase in primary care expenditures.”

Read the entire report here:

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