ACO debate is alive and well

As a health care wonk, it warms my heart to see six strong letters on Accountable Care Organizations in today’s Wall Street Journal, each with a different perspective. The letters are substantive and bereft of ad hominen attacks –which is a definite step up from other top topics of our day. To quickly summarize:

  • The CEO of the Physicians Foundation says ACOs have already failed, because consolidation of provider systems leads to higher prices than with independent physician practices
  • An MD/PhD asserts that in seeking low cost, access and quality only 2 out of 3 can be achieved
  • The Chief Medical Officer of Cigna reports good initial results from experience with 50 ACOs
  • A surgeon is concerned that ACOs will keep too many patients in primary care and away from specialists
  • A physician complains that patients still have no skin in the game and that the liability system needs to change
  • The CEO of a Medicare Advantage insurance company touts the quality and cost benefits of ACOs

So there you have it. I see merits and flaws in all these arguments. There will be plenty more to discuss as the ACO experiment proceeds.

One thought on “ACO debate is alive and well”

  1. I beg to differ with those who think that ACOs have failed. ACO have proved to be a boon for the patients, who have now freedom to choose the health care of their choice, all the while avoiding unnecessary expenditures.
    If there are problems then it can be sorted out because every thing evolves with time and becomes better.

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