Pioneer ACO Departures Infer No Quick Fix for Broken System

October 17, 2014

The recent Pioneer ACO departures suggest a quick fix for our broken health care system is not available.

According to a recent article that appeared in the Wall Street Journal, 3 more of the 32 original Pioneer Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) have dropped out of the program. That means 11 Pioneer ACOs have left the program to date, in most cases because it was costing them money, rather than making them more profitable.

Those of us who don’t believe Obamacare is good for the country could use this news to suggest that the ACO program is flawed and may come tumbling down. Perhaps it will, but let’s give the government credit for at least trying to fix a real problem.

The fact that we need to fix a broken health care system remains evident to all. What I think the Pioneer ACO departures suggest is that a quick fix is not available, and what works in a smaller program may not be as scalable as we think. A solution can’t be delivered entirely by government fiat, although some believe it can. The private sector can’t fix it, either, so some collaboration between the public and private sector will be required.

What I think this story tells us is that ACOs may be a part of the solution, but they are not the entirety of it.