Kitzhaber signs health overhaul bill

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SALEM, Ore. (AP) -- Gov. John Kitzhaber has signed into law his plan to redesign the way Oregon pays for and delivers health care for low-income patients on the Oregon Health Plan.

The governor signed the measure in a ceremony at his office on Friday. Kitzhaber says the plan would lead to healthier patients and lower costs by paying upfront to prevent costly hospital care down the road.

Meanwhile, the Legislature is nearing a vote on two other Kitzhaber initiatives that would merge early childhood education programs and create a health insurance exchange for individuals and small businesses to shop for health care.

Lawmakers have not yet finalized a plan to rebalance the budget, and legislative leaders continue negotiations on another Kitzhaber initiative that would require school districts to sign achievement compacts with the state.