Independent Payment Advisory Board: Too much power, groups say

A mixture of lobbyists, pressure from Republican lawmakers and lukewarm support from Democrats could eventually kill the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), the Washington Post reports.

A product of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the IPAB was supposed to be the toothsome version of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, whose recommendations do not have any force of authority. By contrast, payment reductions recommended by IPAB would require a two-thirds Senate majority to override.

That, combined with the fact that IPAB's 15 panelists would be appointed by the President, has drawn the ire of various constituents, who believe too much power would be concentrated within the body. Recent television ads paid for by a lobbying group called the Coalition to Protect Patients' Rights describe it as "a Medicare IRS--with the power to cut payments to doctors and deny seniors care to pay for more Washington spending." The American Medical Association also has passed a resolution calling for its repeal.

More than 70 House Democrats opposed IPAB when healthcare reform was being drafted, and it originally was kept out of the House version of the bill. Although some Congressional Democrats, such as Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), believe the GOP attacks on IPAB are part of an effort to undermine support for the entire reform bill, he believes the body eventually will be repealed.

To learn more:
- read the Washington Post article
- check out the Weekly Standard article