Experts examine the cost of ACO’s

Some experts are worried that as more primary care practices morph into Accountable Care Organizations (ACO’s), healthcare costs could go up if monopolies are formed, according to an article in the Washington Post.

ACO’s are networks that increase efficiency by bringing more doctors and hospitals onto one team, accountable for the care of patients, with incentives from insurers to keep people healthy and costs down. Primary care physicians and some hospital executives have praised the model, noting that it is organized and encourages quality by compensating physicians based on patient outcomes rather than the number of procedures executed.

However, some experts worry that it will make health care more expensive, noting that increasing competition is the only way to decrease costs.  The critics suggest that a Medicare-like “public” option may help to control spending by introducing competition to the market.

(Sources: The Washington Post, http://washingtonpost.com, August 16, 2010; The Advisory Board Daily Briefing, http://advisory.com, August 17, 2010)