Kim Smith: Obama’s Re-election Signals the End of Fence-Sitting on ACOs

U.S. healthcare reform is bigger than any one presidential election, and the rise of Accountable Care Organizations is a trend whose momentum would have continued regardless of which political party occupies the White House. Nevertheless, says Witt/Kieffer’s Kimberly Smith, senior vice president and managing co-director of the company’s Eastern Region healthcare practice, last night’s re-election of President Obama brings a more certain path for healthcare executives striding towards the future.

Witt/Kieffer's Kimberly Smith

Kimberly Smith

“For the vast majority of health systems around the country, the election validates what they have been working towards anyway,” she told FierceHealthcare this morning. “Obama will continue to push forward with healthcare reform.”

Healthcare leaders who have been reluctant to adopt alternative payment models and other elements associated with reform now have no reason to remain “fence-sitters,” Smith says. These executives were in the minority, she adds—a sentiment shared by James Merlino, MD, chief experience officer at the Cleveland Clinic. “It didn’t really matter to us who won,” he told FierceHealthcare. “We’re marching toward healthcare reform and the things needed to really transform healthcare in the United States.”

In fact, Merlino notes, both Republicans and Democrats fundamentally want the same things: lower costs and better care for a larger segment of the population.

By Paul Thomas, Witt/Kieffer Senior Writer (@PaulWThomas)

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  1. Bobby Gladd says:

    Let’s hope these initiatives bear fruit and don’t end up being this decades “HMOs.” Medical economist JD Kleinke rightly asserts that the key will be “manage the disease, not the money.”

    It’s a big gamble, given our instant gratification culture (which extends to our policy sphere).