House committee endorses repeal of Medicare advisory panel


Less than a week after its health subcommittee voted to approve a bill repealing the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), the full House Energy and Commerce Committee followed suit. The March 6 voice vote passed without recorded opposition.

IPAB was created by the Affordable Care Act for the purpose of reducing Medicare spending when the program’s costs are projected to grow too quickly. Opponents of the panel worry that IPAB would reduce seniors’ access to Medicare treatments and services. To date, no one has been named to the panel.

“What matters is not just what government does, but how we do it,” said Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) in a statement released about the committee’s votes on the IPAB and on two bills affecting the Federal Communications Commissions processes. “Whether it’s decisions about how to protect Medicare patients while reducing the cost of the program or whether it’s how the Federal Communications Commission administers telecommunications policy, these practices should be open and accountable. And that’s precisely what this legislation is designed to accomplish.”

“We applaud the House Energy and Commerce Committee for passing H.R. 452,” said Peter Carmel, MD, president of the American Medical Association, in a statement. “The AMA has actively supported repeal of the IPAB because it would add to the problems caused by the broken Medicare physician payment formula.”

Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius sent a letter to the committee’s leadership on the morning of March 6 stating the Obama administration’s opposition to the bill, reports Bloomberg.

The bill goes to the full House Ways and Means Committee for mark-up on March 8.

Follow Stephanie Bouchard on Twitter @SBouchardHFN.

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