In House Testimony, HLC Head Calls on Congress to Pass Joint Resolution Bringing End to IPAB
WASHINGTON – In testimony before a House subcommittee today, the president of the Healthcare Leadership Council urged Congress to pass a joint resolution, which must be enacted by August 15 of this year, that would eliminate the threat posed to Medicare beneficiaries by the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB).
Mary R. Grealy told the House Energy and Commerce health subcommittee that a provision in the law creating IPAB allows both houses of Congress to pass, under fast-track rules barring amendments or Senate filibuster, a resolution that would stop all IPAB processes from moving forward, but that it must be completed less than a month from now. Congressmen Phil Roe (R-TN) and Raul Ruiz have introduced such a resolution in the House, as have Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) and Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) in that body. IPAB is a mechanism created by the Affordable Care Act that, when triggered by Medicare spending projections, will lead to significant cuts in Medicare spending.
As Ms. Grealy told the subcommittee, “The Independent Payment Advisory Board was created with the ostensible purpose of controlling Medicare spending, but it does so in a way that does not improve the health of beneficiaries, does not add value to the Medicare program, and does not respect the prerogatives of the elected members of the legislative branch to set Medicare policy.”
Ms. Grealy pointed out that nearly 800 organizations from throughout the country representing patients, seniors, healthcare providers, veterans, employers, and Americans with disabilities are insisting that Congress act to eliminate IPAB before it exacerbates healthcare access problems for Medicare beneficiaries.
She testified, “When that (IPAB) process does inevitably occur, it is projected that the gap between what private insurance pays physicians to treat patients and what Medicare pays will continue to widen, leading to a future in which an expanding beneficiary population will have greater difficulty finding a physician.”
In her testimony, she emphasized that Medicare needs to be made a more value-focused program and more effective combatant against chronic disease, but that IPAB, “with its indiscriminate approach to healthcare spending cuts” will not do that.
HLC is leading an IPAB repeal campaign called Protect My Doctor and Me. More information can be found at www.protectmydoctorandme.com.