Congress Moves to Repeal IPAB
The House of Representatives has begun taking steps to repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) that was created to control Medicare costs as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). Both the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee approved H.R. 452, the Medicare Decisions Accountability Act, introduced by Rep. Phil Roe, R-TN, to repeal IPAB. The bill will now head to the House floor for a vote the week of March 19.
The AGA, along with the Alliance of Specialty Medicine and the IPAB Repeal Coalition, has opposed IPAB since it was first introduced as part of the health-care reform debate. Physicians have long opposed IPAB since many Part A providers (hospitals and nursing homes) are exempt from IPAB until 2021 and IPAB cannot make any decisions that would increase Medicare beneficiaries’ premiums or limit care. Thus, IPAB would have more pressure to squeeze costs from physicians who are already living with a broken SGR formula. Repealing IPAB has also received the support of some Democrats, mostly in the House, who oppose relinquishing congressional authority to an independent, unelected board that would make budgetary decisions over Medicare.
Depending on the margin of the vote in the House, the Senate could feel pressure to have an up or down vote on the IPAB repeal legislation. As such, we continue to call on Congress, especially Democratic members, to support H.R. 452.
Look for more updates on this important issue in AGA eDigest and the AGA Washington Insider.