The Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) is about much more than extending health insurance coverage to more people. Among its intentions are:
- Mergers among hospital groups to make larger health delivery organizations
- Mergers among health insurance plans
- Standardization of how treatment decisions are made
- Changing the healthcare payment structure so that doctors and hospitals are paid according to the quality of the care they give, not just by the number of patients seen or procedures performed
All of this is happening rapidly. Hospital groups are merging, and the largest healthcare plans (United, Cigna, Anthem, and Aetna) are all in merger talks. Already, 45% of all American doctors are employed by hospital groups and large physician practices. The delivery of US healthcare has gone from individual doctors to corporate (for profit and not for profit) overnight. Have you seen a difference?
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