ACOs: Don't wait for repeal of health reform

Q. What impact will the recent elections have on the growth of ACOs?
Monday, November 26, 2012

A. In the past year, 147 accountable care organizations (ACOs) entered the Medicare program. These ACOs sprang from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010. ACA has become commonly known (and, depending on your political leanings, for better or worse) as “Obamacare.”  

“Obamacare” is the statutory underpinning that breathes life into the ACO-concept in Medicare. Without it, the current Medicare-ACO concept could redline.

The Supreme Court upheld the ACA this past summer, but what it did not—nor could not—do was prevent a shift in the political landscape from pulling the plug in the form of a legislative repeal.

Before the ACA even made it to President Obama’s desk, Republicans in Congress introduced a bill to repeal it. During the recent campaign season, the Republican Party made repeal a central focus. 

Of course, with such a controversial subject matter—and all the negative connotations like “death panels” and “individual mandate”—Obamacare was nothing resembling bipartisanship. It was enacted nearly along party lines—although with some dissenting Democrats in the House—at a time when the House, the Senate and the White House were all controlled by Democrats.  

Control of Congress will remain split between Republicans and Democrats for the next two years, and President Obama, who has vowed to veto any legislative repeal of Obamacare, will retain the White House for four more years. The chance of legislative repeal of Obamacare—and with it, Medicare ACOs—has all but vanished, for now.

Carla Hogan is an attorney with Tuczinski, Cavalier, Gilchrist & Collura, P.C. She can be reached at 518.463.3990 or