Ore. health bill tweaked, malpractice fight looms

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SALEM, Ore. (AP) -- Gov. John Kitzhaber's proposed overhaul of the Oregon Health Plan has passed out of a legislative subcommittee, one step closer to a vote in the Senate.

The bill was approved late Wednesday night after changes were made to address concerns raised by lawmakers and the health care industry.

But some Republicans still aren't satisfied with provisions limiting medical malpractice liability. Lawmakers anticipate a spirited debate over the issue in the Ways and Means Committee on Friday.

The bill would create a task force to study potential limitations on medical malpractice judgments. Minority Republicans in the Senate say such limits have been thoroughly studied and pledge to fight the bill if they're not included.

Kitzhaber wants to overhaul the state's Medicaid program to improve coordination of care and reduce hospital stays.