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Thursday, March 1, 2012

What is IPAB?

IPAB is the Independent Payment Advisory Board. It’s a panel created by the new federal health law that gives power to control Medicare costs to 15 people. These individuals are not elected officials but people appointed to the panel. The U.S. Constitution gives the power to make budget decisions to Congress. The reason why is so that elected lawmakers can be accountable to the voters for their decisions. IPAB would turn this principle upside down.

Many worry IPAB’s actions could lead to Medicare rationing and price controls. The health law forbids the panel from reducing payments to hospitals and hospices. This leaves IPAB little choice but to decrease payments to doctors, who already face a possible 32-percent Medicare payment cut in 2013. To keep their doors open, many doctors say they will stop accepting new Medicare patients, just as more and more baby boomers become eligible for the program. Yesterday the House Energy and Commerce Committee voted to repeal IPAB. The bill is expected to go before the full House by the end of March.

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