While Health Reform Faces Challenge, Repeal of ACOs Unlikely

While ascendant GOP lawmakers and some 30 lawsuits seek to repeal the healthcare reform law, these efforts should not affect accountable care organizations, which are part of the law, according to speakers at the National Accountable Care Organization Congress in Los Angeles.

"Repeal is a lot harder than people are making it seem," said Mark McClellan, MD, former CMS administrator under President George W. Bush. And while repeal efforts target provisions such as the mandate to buy health insurance, ACOs are bipartisan. "ACOs have been in both Republican and Democratic legislation," Dr. McClellan told the meeting audience.

"ACOs were actually a Republican idea," said Blair Childs, senior vice president of Premier, based in Washington, D.C. "They were the product of a bipartisan Congressional committee looking at healthcare reform in 2009."

Mr. Childs predicted that if Republicans capture the House in the Nov. 2 election, they would file a bill to repeal and replace healthcare reform "right out of the box," but because it would undoubtedly face President Barack Obama's veto, "this bill will not get anywhere."

However, the new balance of power in Washington may be a good time to tweak the reform law, said Richard P. de Filippi, chair of the American Hospital Association. "We are looking for changes in the new Congress," he said. "This might be an opportunity to add tort reform to the law or allow for more competitiveness."

Read more about the ACO Congress.

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