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CPBJ Extra Blog

Getting the picture

By ,
Heather Stauffer
Heather Stauffer

Lately, reporting on health care has reminded me of pointillism.

That is, just as Georges Seurat painted dots and let the viewer's eye connect them, I'm reporting facts as fast as I can and trusting that somehow you'll be able to form them into an up-to-date portrait of this non-quiescent law.

The analogy really won't stand long, because Seurat's works were markedly not occasioned by haste. So before you think it through that far, please consider these points that should be part of your mental picture of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare.

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Surely by now you're familiar with the concept of accountable care organizations. I don't think it's exaggerating to say that they've been presented as the concept that will save health care by achieving better care for less money with coordination, but so far I've heard a lot more about what they're supposed to do than how they're actually doing. Then again, they're in their infancy.

Anyway, points.

Insurance giant UnitedHealthcare plans to double its number of ACO contracts in the next five years.

9 Pioneer ACOs Jump Ship After First Year.

I've seen Geisinger Health System, which is nearby but north of our coverage area, touted as an ACO leader.

But when Highmark announced a tiered system that incentivizes people to go to less expensive doctors, Geisinger was on the wrong side of that equation.

Interesting, right?

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"State of U.S. health 'mediocre'" is a good quick read on a report that's pretty hard to summarize. And "The state of US health ain't so good" is a less formal and more emotional read that highlights a couple of charts.

• • •

Three hospital chains are reportedly interested in buying Health Management Associates Inc. The Florida-based company owns three for-profit hospitals in Central Pennsylvania: Carlisle Regional Medical Center, Heart of Lancaster and Lancaster Regional Medical Center.

• • •

Health Plan Cost for New Yorkers Set to Fall 50%.

Large players opt out of Missouri health exchange.

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Finally, Obamacare penalties spawn "skinny" plans.

Heather Stauffer covers Lancaster County, nonprofits and health care. Have a tip or question for her? Email her at You can also follow her on Twitter, @StaufferCPBJ.

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