The main way the architects of Obamacare hoped to reduce health care spending was to encourage doctors and hospitals to work together to keep patients healthy.
Those elements of the Affordable Care Act—known as value-based payments—have sparked or sped up a wave of hospitals’ acquiring physician practices.
But so far the hoped-for savings aren’t materializing, according to federal data released this month. And a new Stanford University study suggests the entire endeavor could actually be having the opposite of its intended effect.
Indeed, when hospitals employ doctors, more patients end up going to higher-cost and lower-quality hospitals.
The federal Medicare program last week released data on the 353 accountable care organizations that were operating in 2014. These ACOs are joint efforts by doctors and hospitals that work to keep a specific group of seniors healthy and in need of less care. ACOs are the highest-profile piece of Obamacare’s value-based payments.
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