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Can Insurers Really Cooperate With Doctors to Improve the Quality of Healthcare?

The oldest and most successful accountable care organization (ACO) in the U.S. is Kaiser Permanente, the big group-model HMO based in California. ACOs are suddenly a hot topic in healthcare; the new healthcare reform law allows groups of doctors and hospitals that form ACOs to pocket any Medicare cost savings they reap by making medicine more efficient while keeping patients healthy.

But Kaiser includes one key element that most would-be ACOs lack: an insurance company.