ACO Defenders Emerge As Comment Period Ends

Meanwhile, in other health law implementation news, timing issues related to Department of Health and Human Services regulations are flummoxing some states.  

CQ HealthBeat: As ACO Rule Limps Toward Finish Line, More Defenders Emerge
Deadline day arrived Monday for comments on Medicare's much-abused proposal for accountable care organizations. And supporters of the Obama administration championed its pro-patient provisions in the face of criticism from the health industry. Early industry feedback on the ACO rule focused on the expense and complexity it posed for hospitals, doctors and health organizations interested in teaming up to achieve higher quality, better patient care and lower costs. Many providers were deeply skeptical that they could participate and urged a major rewrite (Norman, 6/6). 

Politico Pro: Patient Groups Like ACO Rule
The groups representing patients and consumers have some concerns about the accountable care organization rule — but they are generally much more optimistic about the program than providers have been, according to comments filed with HHS on Monday. One advocate pointed to the new ACO rule as an example of how the current administration is more patient friendly than the past administration (Coughlin, 6/7). 

Politico Pro: HHS Regulations Timing Troubles Some States
New Hampshire state Sen. Ray White started off 2011 looking to get a bill moving on a health exchange, but he backed off because HHS regulations for state-run exchanges were not expected until June. While White opposes the Affordable Care Act, he also recognizes that it's standing law. He did introduce a bill in February 2011 that would have authorized the state to set up the health exchange, curtailing the possibility of the federal government coming in and doing the task (Feder and Kliff, 6/7).

And, from the employer perspective, a survey found that at least three of every 10 will stop offering health insurance in 2014, when the health law begins to kick in.  

MarketWatch: Firms To Cut Health Plans As Reform Starts: Survey
Once provisions of the Affordable Care Act start to kick in during 2014, at least three of every 10 employers will probably stop offering health coverage, a survey released Monday shows. While only 7% of employees will be forced to switch to subsidized-exchange programs, at least 30% of companies say they will "definitely or probably" stop offering employer-sponsored coverage, according to the study published in McKinsey Quarterly (Britt, 6/6). 

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