“Accountable care organizations” is the health wonk phrase du jour. Obamacare’s advocates point to its support for ACOs as one of the important cost-control initiatives in the law. Except that, like nearly everything about Obamacare, the truth isn’t so simple. It turns out that the government’s idea of an accountable care organization is completely unworkable, to the point where nearly all leading health providers have declared it dead on arrival.It turns out these organizations are already being tried--under the Medicare Advantage system, which is a privatized system. But just to make the invisible hand a little more visible, the government insists on spending hundreds of millions of dollars to try out their own version. Only, the government model doesn't seem to be as popular; I wonder why?
On March 31, Donald Berwick’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued 427 pages of proposed rules and regulations that will govern how ACOs will operate.Once again, ladies and gentlemen, your tax dollars hard at work.
In May, ten groups that participated in an ACO pilot program called the Medicare Physician Group Practice Demonstration, including leading centers like Dartmouth-Hitchcock, Geisinger, and the University of Michigan, told CMS in a letter that it would be “difficult, if not impossible” to participate in Obamacare’s ACO program, due to its incessant federal micromanagement and high start-up costs.