In a critique of Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) last October I wrote: “Now comes news that three more of the original groups will jump ship, leaving only 19 of the original 32 still on board. A nearly 50 percent attrition rate should be seen as a death knell for the concept, as these were likely the best of the best, and the inducements most generous. Reasonable people would head back to the drawing board. But we are dealing with government bureaucrats, health policy wonks, and administrators. They will damn the torpedoes and push on at flank speed.”
And, as predicted, that is exactly what is happening.
Amid fanfare, the Secretary of HHS Sylvia Mathews Burwell recently announced plans to move 50 percent of Medicare spending into ACOs and other forms of “payment for value.” This initiative is being pushed through by special interests that expect to benefit. Patients and practicing physicians, the people most affected, are simply not represented.
Reporting from the Wall Street Journal suggests who will benefit from this approach:
“The secretary on Monday was flanked by top insurance industry, health system, medical association and consumer-group executives as she announced a goal that she described as historic.”