Pomeroy Puts Out Health Reform Bill

June 18, 2009 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - U.S. Representative Earl Pomeroy waded into the health care reform debate with a proposed bill that he says supports health systems that reward quality and efficiency of care, not the volume and intensity of services.

Pomeroy (D-North Dakota) joined 20 other co-sponsors in putting forward the Accountable Care Promotion Act of 2009 (ACPA), according to a news release.

The bill creates a voluntary shared savings program that provides financial incentives to Medicare providers for coordinating patient care, the news release said. Pomeroy said the proposal was based on research by Dr. Elliott Fisher of the Dartmouth Institute, which Pomeroy said demonstrates that regions with lower per-patient Medicare spending often provide higher-quality care and better health outcomes.

Specifically, the bill would promote the development of provider networks and organizations, known as Accountable Care Organizations (ACO).  Medicare would establish spending targets for each ACO that reflect the predicted costs for their patients. ACOs that meet quality standards and hold costs below the spending targets would receive a portion of the savings achieved.

According to Pomeroy, with the establishment of ACOs, the federal government can ensure quality while cutting costs by using effective practices to do what is necessary without paying per procedure. 

“Our current health care system is fundamentally flawed – we spend more than any other country in the world, and we have far from the highest quality outcomes,” Pomeroy said, in the news announcement.  “Accountable Care Organizations will change that by rewarding lower-cost, high-quality care over an inefficient system that promotes overuse.”

He added: “Byrewarding participating providers for achieving better care, better health and lower costs for the populations they serve, Accountable Care Organizations are a common-sense approach to helping address the challenges facing the United States’ health care system.”