GOP Leaders Say No to IPAB

As Obamacare takes another nosedive in the polls, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) sent a letter to President Obama indicating that they will not suggest names of individuals who could be appointed to the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB).  Their letter states:

We write to respond to your March 29, 2013 letter requesting that we submit the names of individuals to serve on the Individual Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), which was created in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Public Law 111-148).  Because the law will give IPAB’s 15 unelected, unaccountable individuals the ability to deny seniors access to innovative care, we respectfully decline to recommend appointments.

We believe Congress should repeal IPAB, just as we believe we ought to repeal the entire health care law.  In its place, we should work in a bipartisan manner to develop the long-term structural changes that are needed to strengthen and protect Medicare for today’s seniors, their children, and their grandchildren.  We hope establishing this board never becomes a reality, which is why full repeal of the Affordable Care Act remains our goal. 

Rep. Boehner and Sen. McConnell were correct to refrain from advancing any part of Obamacare.  Submitting names would have given the Obama administration the ability to claim bipartisan support for IPAB.   

Now, Senate Republicans must commit to filibustering any nominee for IPAB that come before the Senate.  As Heritage explains, the IPAB is one of Obamacare’s most egregious provisions:

A board of unelected government officials tasked with finding and implementing ways to control Medicare spending from the top-down, IPAB opens the door to rationing of care, both direct and indirect, without congressional approval.

In no way is that a good situation for our nation’s seniors.   Rather than using an unelected board of government officials to control costs, Heritage has recommended that premium support plans – which would allow seniors to use a defined government contribution to purchase a private plan of their choice in the competitive marketplace – are the best means of ensuring patient empowerment and choice while driving better value for dollars spent.

On the contrary, IPAB could, in theory, control costs, but “not without devastating consequences to the quality of care.”

The reason Americans are averse to government rationing is because it takes the power of decision-making out of the hands of doctors and patients and gives government bureaucrats stronger influence over care. IPAB is statutorily prohibited from “rationing,” but the statute includes no formal definition, and the board will still have to restrict access to providers, services, and/or treatments to hold down costs.

Americans can do better than rationed care.  By refusing to submit names for Obamacare’s IPAB, Speaker Boehner and Sen. McConnell have added one more line of defense.  Yet, there is still much more work to be done to ensure that Obamacare is repealed in totality.

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