IPAB Repeal

 by John McClaughry

One of the hot button issues that surfaced during the enactment of Obamacare in 2010 was the creation of IPAB – the Independent Payment Advisory Board.

The purpose of IPAB was to put the brakes on Medicare spending. The Board was to consist of fifteen presidential appointees who were given the power to reduce payments to health care providers if Medicare spending exceeded Congressionally set caps, which will happen within a year or two. Remarkably, and shockingly, the Obamacare law stripped the courts of jurisdiction to hear any appeal of the implementation of IPAB’s recommendations.

This is the board that Sarah Palin described as “the death panel”. That enraged the backers of Obamacare, but the phrase has a lot of truth to it. Obamacare forbade IPAB to ration care, but that’s the only way the Board can stop Medicare spending.

As Grace-Marie Turner and Doug Badger of the Galen Institute pointed out in their Wall Street Journal commentary last Wednesday, the House has a last chance this week to abolish IPAB, and the Senate has a last chance to concur in early August. If the president signs a congressional resolution extinguishing the panel by August 15, it will never come into existence.

Turner and Badger conclude, “Repealing the ObamaCare ‘death panel’ would give Congress a much-needed accomplishment and give legislators breathing room to reform Medicare the right way.”

Let’s hope that by the time you read this, the House will have acted.

 – John McClaughry is president of the Ethan Allen Institute. 

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