Health Care Expert Wins in Oregon

Article excerpt

John Kitzhaber, a physician and architect of Oregon's health-care rationing plan, has coasted to the Democratic nomination for governor. He will face former Rep. Denny Smith, R-Ore., in the fall.

Kitzhaber, a former emergency room doctor, faced token opposition in Tuesday's primary from Paul Wells, who did not campaign.

The Republican primary, in contrast, was a bitterly fought contest between Smith and Craig Berkman, both millionaire businessmen.

In final returns, Kitzhaber got 226,323 votes, or 89 percent, to 26,837, or 11 percent, for Wells. Smith had 122,331 votes, or 50 percent, to 98,667 votes, or 41 percent, for Berkman. Four other GOP candidates trailed.

Kitzhaber's path to the Democratic nomination was cleared earlier this year when Gov. Barbara Roberts dropped her re-election campaign, in large part because of Kitzhaber's popularity.

Kitzhaber, a 14-year veteran of the Legislature, is the author of a plan to increase the number of people eligible for medical care at public expense by restricting the types of services that they can get. …