Yesterday, at the state Capitol and around Oregon, we celebrated the creation of our state 154 years ago on Feb. 14, 1859.
And on Tuesday night, Gov. John Kitzhaber joined President Barack Obama in Washington, D.C., during the State of the Union address as an honored guest. This was recognition for all we are doing in Oregon to find new and better ways to unlock what seemed like intractable problems in health care and other areas.
President Barack Obama embraced Tuesday a key element of Oregon's novel approach to providing better health care at a lower cost.
"'Our medical bills shouldn't be based on the number of tests ordered or days spent in the hospital.'"
That's exactly right. In Oregon we believe that we should be investing in health care, not sick care. We believe that by being smarter about how we approach everything from what happens at the dinner table to the doctor's office, we can create a unified focus that will keep people healthier and reduce the waste and inefficiency in the health care system.
This national recognition reveals the light that is created when people come together with openness, integrity, and passion for making things better for others. The light becomes a beacon, leading the way.
We have much to be proud of in our state. And as we transform the health care system and our own agency, more people are noticing. We have only just started – and there are challenges along the way that we haven't even conceived of yet – but we are boldly moving forward, creating light and better health along the way.