HHS Reports $380M in Obamacare Savings

The administration says the law’s Accountable Care Organizations are having the desired effect.

HHS Secretary Sebelius
National Journal
Clara Ritger
Jan. 30, 2014, 6:15 a.m.

An Obama­care pro­gram de­signed to al­ter Amer­ica’s health care de­liv­ery sys­tem has saved hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars in health care ex­pendit­ures, the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion said Thursday.

Early data from the first year of Ac­count­able Care Or­gan­iz­a­tions in­dic­ates up­ward of $380 mil­lion in sav­ings, the Cen­ters for Medi­care and Medi­caid Ser­vices re­ports.

The Af­ford­able Care Act cre­ated and fun­ded ACOs in an at­tempt to im­prove qual­ity of care and re­duce costs, and 54 of 114 ACOs had lower year-one ex­pendit­ures than ex­pec­ted, CMS says. ACOs provide co­ordin­ated care for Medi­care be­ne­fi­ciar­ies, bring­ing to­geth­er primary-care phys­i­cians, spe­cial­ists, and hos­pit­als to work to­geth­er to en­sure treat­ment is con­sist­ent and to pre­vent du­plic­a­tion of ser­vices.

“Our strategies of us­ing pa­tient out­reach and edu­ca­tion and reg­u­lar fol­low up for tar­geted chron­ic dis­ease pro­grams are al­low­ing us to an­ti­cip­ate pa­tient needs be­fore their health prob­lems be­come worse,” Dr. Bar­bara Wal­ters said in a press re­lease about the find­ings. Wal­ters is the ex­ec­ut­ive med­ic­al dir­ect­or for ac­count­able care at Dart­mouth-Hitch­cock, a New Hamp­shire-based med­ic­al cen­ter.

The Health and Hu­man Ser­vices De­part­ment, which houses CMS, said it would re­lease fi­nal num­bers from the pro­gram’s first year in the com­ing months.