Tuesday night I was fortunate to participate in an author event at the Cocoon Coffee House in Hawley, Pennsylvania. Approximately 35 people attended. It was a delightful environment. I gave a 30 minute talk about the American healthcare system; what is wrong with it and how to fix it. The Q&A session could have gone on for hours. Everybody has questions about healthcare, either their own or for a loved one. One person asked whether “Obamacare” is working.
I said the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) is about much more than what we hear in the news. I am a registered independent, so my comments are never about this party or that party or right or left. I hope we can all look at the bigger picture. There are ten parts to the ACA. All of them can be significantly improved. Repealing the ACA is politically popular with some but is not possible. So, is it working? I see encouraging trends.
One of the key elements of the ACA is a revamp of the healthcare delivery system which rewards doctors and hospitals for working together to improve quality. This is a good thing. The old model of fee for service is expensive and wasteful. We cannot afford it with 10,000 people joining Medicare every day. The new model of accountable care organizations (ACOs) is actually working. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced savings of $411 million for 2014. This is a drop in the bucket, but an important drop. Read more about how the ACO model works in Health Attitude.