House Vote to Repeal Independent Payment Advisory Board Wins Praise; Essential Step to Protect Medicare Beneficiaries’ Healthcare Access

Healthcare Leadership Council President Calls for Immediate Senate Action to Remove IPAB Threat

WASHINGTON – A coalition of healthcare industry leaders today applauded the U.S. House of Representatives for its bipartisan vote to do away with the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), urging the U.S. Senate to expeditiously follow suit and repeal an entity that threatens Medicare beneficiaries’ access to healthcare.

The Healthcare Leadership Council, made up of chief executives from all sectors of U.S. healthcare, is one of over 770 organizations representing patients, healthcare providers, seniors, Americans with disabilities and veterans that has urged Congress to repeal IPAB because of the danger it poses to beneficiary healthcare access.  Today, the House passed repeal legislation sponsored by Representatives (and physicians) Phil Roe (R-TN) and Raul Ruiz (D-CA).

“Today’s House vote was a vote in support of responsible, patient-centered Medicare reform,” said HLC president Mary R. Grealy.  “IPAB, by mandating arbitrary spending cuts that have no relationship to bringing greater value to the Medicare program, would make it more difficult for beneficiaries to see a doctor, get diagnostic tests, and receive essential treatments.  We need to keep working to build a stronger Medicare, but this is not the way to do it.”

Ms. Grealy added, “Legislation to repeal IPAB has strong support from both sides of the aisle.  It’s supported by organizations representing millions of Americans who receive and provide healthcare.  And IPAB will inevitably be triggered into action, at which point beneficiary healthcare access is at serious risk.  There is every reason for the Senate to follow this House vote with repeal action of its own.”

She pointed out that, with many physicians already limiting the number of Medicare patients they see because of comparably lower reimbursements than private insurance, IPAB-driven spending cuts would exacerbate this gap and make it more difficult for seniors and beneficiaries with disabilities to find a doctor.

“There simply isn’t a good argument for IPAB,” she said.  “Even if you reduce spending in the short run, making patients sicker through reduced healthcare access will only increase hospitalization and emergency room costs in the long term.  IPAB is an ill-conceived idea and Congress has the opportunity to rectify it before it does real harm.”