Calling something ACO does not really make it so

Three health care issues have become important in the presidential campaign, but few people understand the major parties' positions on those issues — and fewer still have any stomach for real change. A Merrill Lynch analysis suggests that even as Americans tell pollsters they want something done about Medicare, the Patients Bill of Rights, and the uninsured, that “something” is vague — and support for various proposals fades when cost considerations are factored in.

Further, says analyst Roberta Goodman, while most voters say Vice President Gore is “best able” to address health care issues, few have a grasp of either his or Texas Gov. George Bush's health care proposals.

While the analysis predicts little short-term action on any of the current major health care issues, it pegs the Patients Bill of Rights as that most likely to pass in the next Congress. Merrill Lynch expects that because of potential cost and coverage issues, resulting external appeals and liability provisions will be consistent with today's Republican positions.