So, What are ACO’s Really All About?

Policymaker: Well, we’re pretty excited about these ACO regs

Reporter: These ACOs are really supposed to lower healthcare costs and improve quality?

Policymaker: You bet. We really believe in them. It’s the a common sense model that is primary care driven.

Reporter: So, then I suppose all the Medicare patients are gonna be in them, so that we get the cost reduction and health benefits?

Policymaker: Ummm, no. We don’t want to require that. We want to design the perfect system, but we don’t want to require anyone to use it.

Reporter: Why not? If you believe in it, why not just implement it?

Policymaker: It’s not American to require people to do anything.

Reporter: That’s confusing. What’s the value of having spent so much time and money on the perfect system if it isn’t actually implemented?

Policymaker: Oh, it will be! Trust me, when Medicare patients see the value of being in a healthcare delivery model that makes more money by reducing the amount spent on care, they’re gonna flock to it.

Reporter: How will you know?

Policymaker: Great question. We’re gonna track it. We’re gonna assign the patients to an ACO and then watch the cost fall and the quality rise.

Reporter: How is the patient gonna feel about being assigned to an ACO, one where maybe their physician isn’t even participating?

Policymaker: Oh, no problem at all. Good care is good care. We think the physician patient relationship is overrated.

Reporter: Really? It seems so personal and essential.

Policymaker: Not really. We just think that. We’re not even gonna tell physicians who’s in an ACO or not?

Reporter: Why not?

Policymaker: Cause we think physicians might prefer the money from reducing costs over helping people get well.

Reporter: So you think paying physicians for saving money will cause them to provide insufficient care?

Policymaker: No, we think paying them to provide really excellent care will drive costs sky high.

Reporter: So is the goal to reduce the quality of care?

Policymaker: No, just the amount of it, because the more you provide, the more it costs.

Reporter: Sounds like healthcare reform is about rationing.

Policymaker: (Laughs). Oh my, no! That would never fly. What we have to do is to make sure patients get exactly what they want and, at the same time, reduce costs.

Reporter: And ACOs will do that?

Policymaker: You bet. That’s the magic. By providing the perfect system and then by mixing it with patient choice and secrecy, we’re convinced we’ll see reduced costs and higher quality.

One thought on “So, What are ACO’s Really All About?

  1. Pingback: ACO Challenges Are Formidable | Jeffrey L Cohen's Blog

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