Medicare Accountable Care Organizations Cut Spending Two Thirds of One Percent

man-in-wheelchairThe Center for American Progress, previously a very pro-Obamacare organization, has published a study summarizing results of one of Obamacare’s most hyped tools to wring savings out of Medicare:

We first calculated overall savings by the Pioneer ACOs, finding that they reduced overall spending by 0.67 percent compared with the target amount of spending in the model’s second year.

Underwhelming, to say the least, don’t you agree?

In Forbes, Sally Pipes of the Pacific Research Institute cuts through the promotional rhetoric on ACO’s:

In the Obamacare case, the administration hand-picked the providers that could participate in the ACOs to maximize the chance of success. And even then, 13 of the original 32 organizations dropped out as a result of the program’s punishing complexity and costly regulations.

Most providers refused to join in the first place. Organizations such as the Mayo Clinic and the Cleveland Clinic — hospitals that President Obama has touted as excellent models of integrated care — declined to participate.

No wonder doctors are deeply skeptical of this model. A survey from the Physicians Foundation found that only one in ten actually think ACOs can improve quality while cutting costs.


Comments (8)

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  1. John Fembup says:

    “A survey from the Physicians Foundation found that only one in ten actually think ACOs can improve quality while cutting costs.”

    Yeah? I wonder who that one is? Steffie Woolhandler?

  2. Perry says:

    Doctors are going to be skeptical of anything that pays them not to do things for patients.

    • John Fembup says:

      Yes. And the irony is, that patients also bear risk from the procedures that our current system pays doctors to perform.

      George Bernard Shaw observed more than 100 years ago:

      “That any sane nation, having observed that you could provide for the supply of bread by giving bakers a pecuniary interest in baking for you, should go on to give a surgeon a pecuniary interest in cutting off your leg, is enough to make one despair of political humanity”.

      Debate over fee for service vs. pre-paid medicine has more or less raged since then.

  3. John Fembup says:

    Or perhaps, if Shaw were wrong, there’d be no unnecessary surgery?

    • If we are going to advocate increasing government control until there is zero unnecessary surgery, then we are asking for unlimited government control.

      • John Fembup says:

        Well, I didn’t post the Shaw remark to advocate anything. I see his remark as a way of stating that the method of compensating physicians can be expected to affect the amount of services they provide. Haven’t economists known this for a long time? And even an old socialist like George Bernard Shaw knew it, too.

        • Yes and a car salesman would like me to buy a new car every month. But I don’t. There is a demand as well as a supply function – except in U.S. health care.