Much of the work of the Commonwealth Fund and others seems to presume that payors are a necessary intermediary and should be the entities doling out population prepayment (aka capitation before it was a nasty word). However, it need not work out that way – particularly with House Dems’ concern that Medicare Advantage was profiteering.

It would be a small step for the new public plan likely to be created to make “population prepayments” directly to integrated health systems particularly because the covered lives under such a plan are likely to have the benefit of public reinsurance. Also, since that coverage will not be employer based it will be easier for those integrated systems to assume risk for that plan’s lives (no need for national networks).

Through such direct health system participation those systems would be incented to create the high performance integration these studies suggest is desirable. The Commonwealth Fund is about to release its new blue print . It will be interesting to see if such an evolution is being thought about.