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Letter


Stand Up for Pro-Taxpayer Health Care Reform, Support H.R. 452!
An Open Letter to the U.S. House of Representatives:

March 21, 2012


Dear Representative:

     We, the undersigned organizations, representing millions of Americans who seek limited government and economic freedom, urge you to enact H.R. 452, the Medicare Decisions Accountability Act. This legislation would repeal provisions relating to the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) contained in the so-called Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). While each of us advocates completely abolishing the fiscally disastrous 2010 law, H.R. 452 would remove a major obstacle to consumer-based, pro-taxpayer health care reform.

     Aside from its economically devastating tax increases, oppressive individual mandates, and onerous dictates for businesses, PPACA would dramatically expand government’s already meddlesome role in the health services marketplace. One way the law achieves these undesirable ends is through IPAB. A coalition of organizations led by the Doctor Patient Medical Association has offered many worthy arguments against this bureaucratic nightmare, including its unjustified grant of authority and its detrimental impact on retired Americans’ access to services. There are, however, additional reasons why fiscal conservatives of both parties should support H.R. 452:

  • IPAB’s most expedient tools for holding down Medicare costs would closely resemble price controls, which have been a proven failure here and abroad for many areas of the economy. In IPAB’s case they could mean cost-shifting to non-exempt providers inside Medicare and beneficiaries outside Medicare, as well as reduced investment in researching new medical treatments that could save lives and money. Such has been the case with blockbuster drug development, which until now has advantaged the U.S. because our nation serves as an island of pricing freedom. Ultimately, the real “winner” from price controls would be big government, not consumers.
  • Because its mission is defined by PPACA’s framework, IPAB will focus on cost-containment measures whose scoring windows are narrow. At best, IPAB would be an institutional distraction from reforms whose highest savings might occur beyond the next fiscal year or two, such as the premium support model. At worst, IPAB would serve as an institutional impediment to progress, by relegating much of the health policy process to debating marginal changes in reimbursements.
  • IPAB’s mechanics would work against fiscal discipline as well as transparency. In the past, expert panels such as the military Base Realignment and Closure Commission have helped to break political logjams for taxpayers’ benefit. IPAB, on the other hand, reflects Congress’s worst impulses to avoid accountability to taxpayers, much in the way the Commission on Legislative, Executive, and Judicial Salaries provided cover for lawmakers to obtain pay raises without voting for them. Clearly, the American people will still blame Congress for abdicating its constitutional role to IPAB over matters affecting the fundamental well-being of patients and taxpayers.

     We understand that some view the dissolution of IPAB as a strategy to deflect political criticism away from other parts of PPACA, thereby easing their integration into the health care system. However, we believe that in addition to holding votes on repealing PPACA as a whole, it is vital to take every legislative opportunity for protecting Americans from PPACA’s most harmful facets. H.R. 452 would make an admirable contribution toward this end. 

     As many of us warned more than two years ago, PPACA has led to adverse consequences such as higher rather than lower insurance premiums as the law takes effect, and a rising gross cost spiral that assumes more businesses will be trapped by penalties. Given these ominous signs, IPAB’s capacity to make fatally flawed decisions for the health care system, the federal government’s finances, and the entire economy is all the more alarming.

     Elected officials must reassert responsibility over health policy and change direction away from PPACA’s government-dominated approach. H.R. 452 is a key element in this course correction, and we urge its immediate passage.

Sincerely,

Duane Parde, President
National Taxpayers Union

Dean Clancy, Legislative Counsel and Vice
President, Health Care Policy
FreedomWorks
Tim Phillips, President
Americans for Prosperity
Mario H. Lopez, President
Hispanic Leadership Fund
Grover Norquist, President
Americans for Tax Reform
Heather Higgins, President and CEO
Independent Women’s Voice
Andrew F. Quinlan, President
Center for Freedom and Prosperity
Kerri Toloczko, Senior Vice President for Policy
Institute for Liberty
Tom Schatz, President
Council for Citizens Against Government Waste
Colin Hanna, President
Let Freedom Ring
Kathryn Serkes, Chair and Co-Founder
Doctor Patient Medical Association
Dr. Joseph L. Bridges, President and CEO
The Seniors Coalition