GOP bill aims to kill Medicare Independent Payment Advisory Board

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The Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), the 15-member panel charged with identifying ways to cut Medicare spending, may be back on the chopping block.

Yesterday, Rep. Wally Herger (R-Calif.) introduced a bill to kill IPAB, a product of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. In its place, the bill aims to establish means testing, raise the eligibility age to 67 and allow private plans to bid to offer Medicare coverage, reported The Hill's Healthwatch.

The amount of the lowest bid would equal the amount the government would contribute per beneficiary, whether that bid came from traditional Medicare or a private plan, the Chico Enterprise Record reported.

"Unfortunately, the program is on an unsustainable path due to an aging population and rising health costs," Herger said in a statement. "We need to reform this program so our children and grandchildren can continue to look forward to a secure retirement with affordable, high-quality healthcare," he said.

IPAB and its constitutionality has been under scrutiny from lawmakers for years, and the panel's repeal received bipartisan House support with a 223-181 vote in March but didn't make it through the Senate. Likewise, the American Medical Association renewed its efforts to dismantle IPAB in the Senate in February.

Despite the controversy, IPAB might not ever transpire, noted Healthwatch. The President appoints and the Senate confirms the 15 members, making the process vulnerable to GOP filibusters.

For more:
- read the Hill's Healthwatch article
- here's the Chico Enterprise Record article

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