Monday, November 22, 2010

ACO: Told ya so!

ACO's (Accountable Care Organizations) are an ObamaCare© invention purportedly designed to increase access to, and affordability of, health care. As we've seen, of course, they do neither. But why take just our word for it? Writing in the New York Times (hardly a bastion of right-wing thinking), Robert Pear notes:

"Consumer advocates fear that the health care law could worsen some of the very problems it was meant to solve — by reducing competition, driving up costs and creating incentives for doctors and hospitals to stint on care, in order to retain their cost-saving bonuses."

Gee, ya think?

On the other hand, if you're Donald Berwick, this is a feature , not a bug:

"Judith A. Stein, director of the nonprofit Center for Medicare Advocacy, said she was concerned that some care organizations would try to hold down costs by “cherry-picking healthier patients and denying care when it’s needed.” [emphasis added]

And since over a quarter of Medicare beneficiaries exhibit multiple conditions, the system is ripe for rationing, not to mention financial abuse:

"Hospitals and doctors have also asked the administration to waive laws intended to prevent fraud and abuse in Medicare."

Wonder why that is.

On second though, no, I don't.

And by the way, be sure to check out Mike’s take on this, as well.
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