Will ACOs survive a health reform repeal?

Despite vowing to repeal health reform, Mitt Romney would likely keep accountable care organizations on the agenda, a campaign adviser told Law 360.

Romney said he would repeal the ACA on his first day in office in this week's presidential debate, but it's likely the Republican candidate would keep the key piece of the law intact--the way Medicare is delivered, according to Thomas Barker, former acting general counsel for the Department of Health & Human Services under President George W. Bush and partner at Foley Hoag.

However, as ENT Today noted, Romney hasn't explicitly stated what his stance is on ACOs, but he supports alternatives to the fee-for-service model and promotes ratings systems of hospitals and health plans so patients can compare costs.

The speculated leniency on the Republican candidate's commitment to repeal reform may reflect a broader acceptance of the payment model in the state. In a Massachusetts Medical Society workforce study released Tuesday, nearly 74 percent of physicians said they were familiar with ACOs, up from 58 percent last year. Sixty percent said they were likely to voluntarily participate in an ACO, according to the state society.

If reelected, President Barack Obama would likely stay on course of the health reform he designed, with accountable care as the key component. So far, 154 Medicare Shared Savings have formed, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

For more information:
- here's the Law360 article (registration required)
- read the ENT Today article
- here's the Massachusetts Medical Society announcement

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