Pawlenty’s Obamacare problem 

Why did T-Paw back off his Obamneycare line at Monday’s debate? Could it be because his own health care proposals are too close to Obamacare for comfort? Earlier this month I noted a striking similarity between the way Obamacare plans to cut Medicare and Pawlenty’s Medicare proposal. Apparently, the moderator at the America’s Health Insurance Plans conference where Pawlenty spoke yesterday noticed the same thing. Politico reports:

At times in his speech, Pawlenty sounded a bit like CMS Administrator Don Berwick, who touts the virtues of the accountable care organizations created by the law — networks of hospitals and doctors that would work together to coordinate patients’ care and share some of the money they save.

Pawlenty’s love of the pay-for-performance model was not lost on the moderator during a question and answer period, who noted that many of the reforms he talked about were at the heart of provisions of the Affordable Care Act. Many of the audience members were working toward developing ACOs under the law, the moderator said, so why throw it away?

“Sure, Obamacare — or as you call it, the ‘Accountable Care Act’ — has some of these provisions,” he said, bungling the name of the law. “But they are government led and government centered.” And with Medicare, he said, “you have a bureaucratic board determining from a government perspective what to cut.”

OK, but how is Pawlenty’s proposal any different? Who will be writing his ACO and Medicare pay-for-performance regs other than bureaucrats?

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Conn Carroll

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