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The Unaccountable Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB)

Recently Rep. Michael Burgess, MD (R-TX), took on CNN’s Soledad O’Brien on Medicare reform and the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) in particular.  Before we show you the video here’s some background information on the topic.

The IPAB was created by the health-reform legislation, and is a board of 15 unelected and largely unaccountable government bureaucrats whose primary purpose is to cut Medicare spending. There are many problems with the IPAB, including:

  • Fewer than half of the IPAB members can be healthcare providers, and none are permitted to be practicing physicians or otherwise employed;
  • IPAB will be required to recommend cuts based on unrealistic spending targets starting in 2014;
  • Providers representing roughly 37 percent of all Medicare payments, including hospitals and hospice care, are exempt from IPAB cuts until 2020 — thus, IPAB-directed cuts will disproportionately fall on all other providers and suppliers, including surgeons;
  • Without a permanent solution to the Medicare’s sustainable growth rate formula, physicians essentially are subject to “double jeopardy” with cuts from both the SGR and IPAB; and
  • IPAB recommendations are “fast-tracked” and automatically go into effect unless blocked or amended by Congress within seven months, which is completely unrealistic.

In March, the U.S. House of Representatives passed, “The Protecting Access to Healthcare Act” (H.R. 5), to repeal the IPAB.  That said, we still have a lot of work to do in achieving repeal in the Senate.  In the video below, Rep. Burgess touched on some key issues about the IPAB, but namely how its members are unaccountable to the American public for the decisions they make.  View the video here:


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