ObamaCare is being dismantled piece by piece and next on the chopping list is the Independent Payment Advisory Board, a cost-cutting board for Medicare.
Known as one of the the ‘death panels’, the unelected 15-member ObamaCare board would has the power to cut Medicare spending without Congress, impacting the health access of more than 55 million seniors.
Congress made a promise to Americans to repeal and replace ObamaCare and failed.
Congress could make good on some of their promise by a vote to repeal and replace the ACA board.
This announced after the Trump Administration laid out a plan to repeal the ObamaCare individual mandate through the up-coming tax cuts.
The Hill reports:
PAB epitomizes the ACA’s approach to health care: great power concentrated in the hands of a few. The unelected 15-member board would ultimately have the power to cut Medicare spending without Congressional review, impacting the health access of more than 55 million seniors.
The board has never been appointed, and it has never been triggered. If (when) Medicare’s actuaries predict that the program will not meet a certain budget target, the Affordable Care Act empowers the board to make budget recommendations that will bear the weight of law. In the absence of a board, these powers fall to the Secretary of Health and Human Services.
It’s hard to argue about the harm of something that hasn’t happened yet (which is why all reforms to Medicare are so difficult), but IPAB represents a loaded gun that threatens the program in the most undemocratic way. Statutorily, IPAB exists. It’s only a matter of time until it is triggered by budget realities (actuaries now predict in 2021) and begins setting policy.
But there’s strong, bipartisan opposition to IPAB. Liberals don’t like it because they typically oppose any potential cut to social programs. Conservatives don’t like it because it represents the big-government approach to cutting healthcare dollars, which will inevitably result in the backdoor rationing of services and treatments.
Now all of these stakeholders have the opportunity to get what they’ve been hoping for: A vote to repeal IPAB is scheduled for Thursday in the U.S. House. This won’t be the first time the House has voted on the controversial board; they actually voted to repeal it as far back at 2012, but the effort failed in the Senate (and of course then-President Obama would not have signed such legislation anyway).
But now the game has changed, along with control of the Senate and the White House. Opponents of the ACA, having failed to comprehensively address the law, now have the chance to target its harmful pieces one by one, and also now with some help from across the aisle.
Although Republicans didn’t make good on their promise to repeal “every word of ObamaCare” this summer, they can take an important step and repeal at least the IPAB.
This would be a welcome step toward protecting seniors, and would pave the way for better, patient-centered, market-driven reforms.
The left has always gotten their way via baby steps. If that is what it takes, then keep steppin’
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