Feds will put up money for Ore. health overhaul

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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- The Obama administration is buying into an ambitious health care initiative in Oregon, to the tune of $1.9 billion over five years.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said Thursday it's tentatively agreed to help Oregon pay the startup costs of a plan to create new "coordinated care organizations." The organizations will be responsible for improving health care and lowering costs for 600,000 people on the Oregon Health Plan, the state's Medicaid program.

Federal officials have not yet approved a waiver from standard Medicaid regulations, which is needed before the plan can take effect.

But the tentative commitment of money is a clear public endorsement of the concept and of its potential to save money. Officials estimate the plan will save $11 billion over the next decade.