The House Energy and Commerce Committee yesterday voted 17-5 to repeal the Medicare Decisions Accountability Act of 2011 with the passage of H.R. 452. The bill will now go to the House floor for a vote.
The bipartisan bill would eliminate the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) from the Affordable Care Act. Under the act the 15-member IPAB would have had the authority to cut $575 billion from Medicare over 10 years through rationing and price controls.
According to news reports, Republicans who oppose the IPAB maintain it allows for rationing of care by unelected bureaucrats, patients would be unable to appeal their decisions and the board will have little leeway other than to simply cut provider payments. Democrats support the IPAB for its mission to control healthcare costs.
The American Medical Association (AMA) supported the repeal of the IPAB because "it would add to the problems caused by the broken Medicare physician payment formula,” said AMA President Peter W. Carmel, M.D., in a statement. “The IPAB would have far too little accountability and the ability to make across-the-board Medicare cuts. This is not what we need at a time when Congress is already struggling to eliminate a failed formula that threatens access to care for seniors and military families.”