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More than 390 Groups Voice Support for Repeal of IPAB

March 21, 2012

This week, the House of Representatives will vote to repeal the so-called Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB). Created by the Democrats’ health care law, IPAB is a powerful board of 15 unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats whose sole job will be to save money by restricting access to health care for Medicare beneficiaries.

The desire to repeal IPAB is strong and bipartisan across the nation and in Congress. In addition to the over 230 cosponsors of the repeal legislation (H.R. 5), more than 390 groups representing patients, doctors, and employers have written Congress, asking that IPAB be repealed. Here is what they are telling Congress:

Easter Seals, serving 1.6 million children and adults with disabilities :
“The IPAB is not designed to be an instrument of delivery reform or to improve the quality of care. The charge for this Board is to reduce the per capita rate of growth in Medicare spending. For people with disabilities and chronic conditions, it is through better coordination and provision of quality care that real changes in health status can be achieved, not in the reduction of spending per person….[Repeal of IPAB] seems the brighter path for people with disabilities and chronic conditions to assure the most impact from money spent through the Medicare program.”

National Military and Veterans Alliance, representing 35 military associations and veterans organizations with a combined membership of more than 3.5 million members :
“[B]ecause Medicare reimbursement rates and coverage determinations are standard measures for some provisions of TRICARE as well as a number of private insurance programs, we have real concerns about the IPAB indirect impact upon military retirees now and particularly in the future as its scope of authority expands….We are concerned that, as currently constituted, IPAB is not even required to consider the impact of its cuts on Medicare patients. And we are most troubled by the way in which Medicare beneficiaries, patient advocates, and the American people have no recourse to its actions.”

Alliance of Specialty Medicine, a coalition of national medical societies representing specialty physicians :
“Growing concerns over the rising costs of healthcare are shared by physicians, but we are confident that the IPAB is the wrong solution. The IPAB as it has been described in statute, will simply ratchet down cost in the absence of adequate clinical expertise or the research capacity to examine the national and regional effects of proposed recommendations to ensure patients are not unduly impacted.”

California Healthcare Institute (CHI), representing a membership of over 275 leading biomedical companies, academic and research institutions and companies involved in supporting the biomedical community :
“CHI is deeply concerned that the quality of care for our nation’s seniors, those with disabilities, and persons with chronic or rare diseases would not be best served by the IPAB… In addition, CHI is troubled with the IPAB’s lack of transparency and limited congressional oversight.”

Over 350 groups representing all sectors of the healthcare industry, employers of different sizes and geographic locations, as well as purchasers of care, consumers and patients :
“We all share the conviction that the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) will not only severely limit Medicare beneficiaries’ access to care but also increase healthcare costs that are shifted onto the private sector…The IPAB will have unprecedented power with little oversight, even though it has the power to literally change laws previously enacted by Congress. Further, the law specifically prohibits administrative or judicial review of the Secretary’s implementation of a recommendation contained in an IPAB proposal. We are deeply concerned about the impact the IPAB will have on patient access to quality healthcare.”

Twenty-six members of the Health Care Freedom Coalition, including Americans for Tax Reform, 60 Plus and FreedomWorks :
“The ill-advised quest for ‘cost effectiveness’ is doomed to failure. As we have seen in Great Britain, any de facto price controls are likely to do nothing to control the growth of spending. Further, this one-size-fits-all approach to dictating medical care in a country of more than 300 million is ill-advised. If Congress believes that these decisions handed over to IPAB are too much of a hot political potato for it to decide, then perhaps it is a clear indication that this is the wrong course of action.”

Coalition for Affordable Health Coverage, representing small and large employers, manufacturers, retailers, insurers, brokers and agents, physician organizations and individual consumers including the International Franchise Association, National Association for the Self Employed, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce :
“By eliminating the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), this bill would forestall the possibility of arbitrary Medicare payment reductions that shift cost onto the private sector, reduce household living standards and undercut health system access for Medicare beneficiaries.”

American Society for Radiation Oncology, representing more than 10,000 radiation oncology medical professionals who treat more than 1 million cancer patients each year :
“We recognize the need to rein in health care spending. However, we do not believe the IPAB is the way to accomplish this very important goal. Radiation oncologists oppose efforts that may limit patients’ access to life-saving cancer treatments. The IPAB has been given the authority to make significant payment cuts to Medicare providers with little oversight from Congress, which could negatively affect access, coverage, and quality of radiation therapy treatments.”

National Right to Life Committee :
“[I]t is equally important to understand IPAB’s critical role in limiting the ability of Americans of all ages to obtain unrationed health care. The Obama Health Care Law requires IPAB to make recommendations, which the federal Department of Health and Human Services is given coercive power to implement, effectively to limit what resources Americans are allowed to devote to health care for their family so that they cannot even keep up with the rate of medical inflation. In short, IPAB will play a crucial role in limiting the ability of Americans of all ages to spend their own money to save their own lives.”

American Medical Association (AMA) :
“The AMA has consistently expressed its opposition to the IPAB on several grounds. The IPAB puts important health care payment and policy decisions in the hands of an independent body that has far too little accountability. Major changes in the Medicare program should be decided by elected officials.”

A full list of groups that support repeal of IPAB can be found here.