Although the announcement could be interpreted as the president calling off the dogs, it's a little more complicated than that. Look for new regulations (who knows when those will be out) that will provide a safe harbor, or several, so that doctors, hospitals and other medical professionals will know exactly how they are able to collaborate and how they are not.
But it won't be that simple. It never is when government regulations come into play. The agency further suggested it might develop an expedited review process for the ACOs that fall outside the safe harbors, whatever they may permit.
The rhetoric is welcome. The proof will come later.
Editor's note: This is only one potential regulatory landmine, but there are others. I'd be interested to hear about any you know of that need to be fixed so that the admirable goals of healthcare reform aren't ultimately undone by the rules of the game. The only way to get them changed is to shed light on them—the sooner the better. Please email me at the address below.