Open Letter to the House Ways and Means & Energy and Commerce Committees: Support IPAB Repeal Legislation
On behalf of the National Taxpayers Union, thank you to Chairmen Brady (R-TX), Walden (R-OR) and Ranking Members Neal (D-MA) and Pallone (D-NJ) for holding the timely markup of H.R. 849, the “Protecting Seniors’ Access to Medicare Act 2017,” which would fully and permanently repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB).
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act created IPAB to recommend Medicare cost-savings in the event that outlays were projected to exceed the targeted growth rate. Restrictions against increasing beneficiary premiums, reducing benefits, increasing cost-sharing, or modifying eligibility requirements, severely limit cost-cutting options. This artificial bias against real, long-term reforms leaves only price-controls and care-rationing on the table.
It's true that Medicare faces profound fiscal issues. However, IPAB is not the proper way to address these problems. The board lacks essential accountability mechanisms and the few cost-saving solutions it’s afforded could have dire consequences for Medicare consumers. More troubling, even the most aggressive cuts to physician fees or prescription benefits IPAB could require will do little to alleviate the long-term outlook.
Comprehensive, innovative reforms are needed to ensure the long-term sustainability of Medicare, as well as avoid economic disaster. The longer Congress postpones these tough decisions, the harder those choices will be. The limited scope and draconian measures IPAB would impose are far from the modest changes now that could dramatically improve Medicare’s fiscal outlook in the years ahead.
To that end, NTU recommends supporting H.R. 849 and urges your Committee to act quickly to move the bill forward. This legislation is an important, bipartisan measure that would increase accountability and avoid the threat of care-rationing at the hands of bureaucrats.
Federal Affairs Manager