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Another provision of health care reform is in danger of getting the boot – but unlike the Supreme Court-bound individual mandate, this one is threatened by the legislative branch.
According to the Hill’s Healthwatch, the House Energy and Commerce Health subcommittee today voted 17-5 in favor of repealing the Affordable Care Act’s Independent Payment Advisory Board. The 15-member board can recommend provider payment cuts if Medicare costs grow faster than a targeted amount (Congress can overrule its suggestions with a supermajority, however).
All but two of the votes for repeal were by Republicans, who early on derided the IPAB as a “death panel” or “rationing board". Prior to the vote, Subcommittee Chairman Joe Pitts (R-Pa.) argued that the board would supplant lawmakers’ ability to run Medicare policy.
“[Supporters of IPAB] are not troubled by the fact that there is no requirement for public comment prior to IPAB issuing its recommendations,” Pitts said. “That IPAB’s actions are not subject to judicial review does not alarm them.”
Committee member Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Ca.) countered that the board merely serves as a means to control Medicare health spending in Congress. “We all hope the IPAB will be irrelevant. If the Act works… it will be,” he said. “Let’s recognize today’s vote for what it is: an attempt to discredit the Affordable Care Act and embarrass the president.”
Earlier this week, the American Medical Association reiterated its support for appealing IPAB. You can also read more about that at the Healthwatch blog.