The Wall Street Journal reports:
Spurred by the Affordable Care Act, hundreds of pilot programs called Accountable Care Organizations have been launched over the past year, affecting tens of millions on Medicare and many who have commercial health insurance.
The ACOs are in effect latter-day health-maintenance organizations—doctors, hospitals and other health-care providers grouped together to provide coordinated care. The ACOs assume financial responsibility for the cost and quality of the care they deliver, making them accountable to patients. With President Obama's re-election making it certain that the Affordable Care Act will begin taking full effect next year, the number of ACOs will continue to increase.
We believe that many of them will not succeed. The ACO concept is based on assumptions about personal and economic behavior—by doctors, patients and others—that aren't realistic. Health-care providers are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to build the technology and infrastructure necessary to establish ACOs. But the country isn't likely to get the improvements in cost, quality and access that it so desperately needs.