New Studies Assess Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) after the Passage of the Affordable Care Act

JHP404_coverproof1-1Assessing Accountable Care Organizations: Cost, Quality, and Market Power,” a special issue of the Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law (volume 40, issue 4), is an in-depth look at accountable care organizations (ACOs): networks of hospitals, physicians, or other health care providers that share financial and medical responsibility for the coordinated care of a patient.

Now numbering over 700 throughout the United States, ACOs were rare prior to the passage of the Affordable Care Act. Their increased presence has sparked a debate about issues important to patients, providers, and taxpayers throughout the nation. “Integrated health delivery systems and accountable care organizations are becoming ubiquitous in our health care system,” Richard Scheffler, special issue co-editor, states. “They potentially could bend the cost curve and improve the quality of care, but they also present a threat to the competitiveness of health care markets.”

Contributors to this issue analyze the current landscape of ACOs from a national and state perspective and assess whether ACOs meet the expectations of patients for lowering costs, increasing the quality of health care, and impacting population health. The authors also identify the current status of ACO accountability and enforcement with insight into antitrust laws.

The issue also includes a Point-Counterpoint section in which Laurence Seidman (University of Delaware) and Harold Pollack (University of Chicago) debate the merits of a Medicare for All reform.

Much of the work in this issue was supported through the Nicholas C. Petris Center with funding from the California Attorney General’s office.

For more information about the Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law, published by Duke University Press, please visit dukeupress.edu/jhppl. For more information about the special issue, please contact Colleen Grogan, journal editor and special issue co-editor (cgrogan[at]uchicago[dot]edu) and Richard Scheffler, special issue co-editor (rscheff[at]berkeley[dot]edu).

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