31. Accountable Care Organizations
Another way Obamacare plans to control costs is through the establishment of Accountable Care Organizations, ACOs. These are essentially HMOs on steroids. These ACOs will centralize care of a patient within a large organization, similar in many ways to Kaiser, but with important differences. A hospital or insurance company will control the ACO and providers such as doctors, physical therapists, laboratory services, will all be under their control. The government will apportion an amount of money to the ACO and the administrator of that ACO (the hospital or insurer) will determine, based on “quality measures” determined by the federal government, who will be rewarded with a bonus and who will be punished. In plain terms, this means that your doctor will be rewarded for NOT performing tests or NOT giving expensive treatments, and may be financially punished if they don’t play along. To me, this is not only warped, it’s unethical.
(Note: This commentary is by Dr. Jill Vecchio.)