Momentum to kill IPAB grows in Congress

Some momentum is building in Congress toward eliminating the Medicare Independent Payment Advisory Board, although academics, economists and the Obama administration are pushing back against such a measure, reports American Medical News.

The abolishment of the IPAB--created only a year ago with the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act--would likely throw hospitals back into uncertainty regarding the future of how Medicare payments are structured.

A bill in the House of Representatives, sponsored by Phil Roe, a Tennessee Republican, would repeal the IPAB. It has 120 supporters, including several Democrats. Major physician groups are also concerned about the possibility the board would mandate cuts similar to those in the sustainable growth rate formula.

However, a letter sent to Congress and signed by more than 100 prominent physicians and academics urges keeping the IPAB in place.

"The IPAB is a tool designed to help the Congress slow the rapid projected increases in healthcare costs in the federal budget and to improve the delivery of healthcare," a portion of the letter said. "Increases in Medicare, Medicaid and the private sector could be slowed by giving providers greater incentives to adopt more cost-effective treatments and prevention interventions."

For more information:
- read the American Medical News article
- check out the letter (.pdf)