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Medicare Monday: Call for repeal of IPAB intensifies

Nicole Longo   |     August 28, 2017   |   SHARE THIS

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Efforts to repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) are gaining momentum as health care stakeholders and policymakers on both sides of the aisle continue to voice their concerns over the board’s broad, virtually unchecked powers.

IPAB is a 15-member panel selected by the President and confirmed by the Senate that is tasked with proposing cuts to Medicare if spending exceeds a certain growth target. Although IPAB has yet to be triggered, industry experts expect the growth target to be reached in the near future. Here’s a look at the growing bipartisan opposition to IPAB:

  • Speaking on behalf of nearly 800 organizations opposed to IPAB, Mary Grealy, president of the Health Care Leadership Council, testified at a House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee hearing in July. In her remarks, Grealy highlighted how IPAB’s broad power could harm patients: “IPAB was created with the ostensible purpose of controlling Medicare spending, but it does so in a way that does not improve the health of beneficiaries, does not add value to the Medicare program, and does not respect the prerogative of the elected members of the legislative branch to set Medicare policy.”
  • In The Hill, the American Legislative Exchange Council’s Director of Health and Human Services Mia Palmieri Heck said: “Solutions sought to bring down the cost of care should be rooted in reducing regulation while incentivizing competition and choice in the market, not governing boards of unelected bureaucrats who are accountable to no one.”
  • Also in The Hill, Jared Whitley, a journalist with 15 years of policy experience, explains how IPAB threatens patients’ safety: “IPAB can choose what will get reimbursed and what won’t, so if they deem a procedure is too expensive, they choose who lives and who dies. If they enforce price controls, they kill free market innovation.”
  • In a letter to Congress, 16 organizations called for the repeal of IPAB as soon as possible: “Too much power is being vested into an unelected board, or one person, the secretary of Health and Human Services, if the board has taken no action to prepare a proposal to cut spending. It is imperative that IPAB be repealed as soon as possible and decision-making and spending authority be returned to Congress before Medicare costs reach the threshold that would trigger action by the board.”

Senator WydenSenator Cornyn and Representatives Roe and Ruiz have also expressed concerns and have introduced legislation to repeal IPAB. Congress must to listen to these calls to action and repeal IPAB before patients and the health care system are harmed.

Learn more about IPAB and why it’s bad for patients here.

Nicole Longo

Nicole Longo Nicole is senior manager of public affairs at PhRMA focusing on Medicare, 340B, importation and more. She previously worked for a D.C.-based public affairs firm where she assisted a wide range of clients with communications efforts on everything from trade policy to agriculture policy to health care policy. Outside the office, Nicole can be found trying new restaurants (usually Italian), taking an occasional barre class and cheering on the Cincinnati Bengals.

Topics: Medicare, Medicare Monday, IPAB

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