Accountable Care Organizations: The Emperor Has No Clothes, Or, Jeff Goldsmith's Plan B

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The current all-ACO issue of Health Affairs includes a piece by Jeff Goldsmith entitled: Accountable Care Organizations: The Case For Flexible Partnerships Between Health Plans And Providers. It is a proposal for how private sector health plans ought to pay for services, in order to save us all from what Goldsmith sees happening in the near future thanks to the Gold Rush mentality among health care provider organizations working to become ACOs before they've been defined in regulation.

Life is not perfect, we have to play the hand we've been dealt, and we've been dealt ACOs. They will likely be a fact of life for many Medicare beneficiaries this time next year. Commercial payors are in the habit of glomming onto Medicare payment system innovations, so moving them -- and providers -- in a different direction will be difficult, though it may ultimately be a win-win-win for payors, providers and patients.

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