Last month, President Obama stated that Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) should be empowered to make even deeper cuts in Medicare reimbursement rates for the medical community, citing budgetary needs as a primary driver. This reinvigorated the debate over the IPAB.
- Speaker of the House John Boehner released posted a blog today referring to IPAB as a "Rationing Board" of bureaucrats. He referenced criticisms of the board in the Denver Post, The Hill, National Review and The Weekly Standard.
- Former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson added his thoughts to the mix in an April editorial entitled "Reform Medicare, Don't Cut It" where he describes the pitfalls and constraints that come with IPAB. Thompson asserts that "IPAB's mission is to meet government standards of cost-cutting, with little to no regard for the impact on the consumer or health care providers." This week Thompson returned to the Huffington Post to contribute a blog where he describes some alternative cost containment measures he believes will provide long term solutions.
- The Wall Street Journal ran an opinion piece describing the President's plans for IPAB and how the government plans to manage the nation's health care system. WSJ describes IPAB as a "board [that] will play doctor and actuary and allocate health resources better than markets."
We have continued to express concerns over IPAB and support its repeal. Yet we are not the only ones taking a stand against the measure. Strong advocates of its repeal, including the American Medical Association (AMA), American Hospital Association (AHA) as well as the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) have made the board's repeal a top priority. Letters to Congress from the AMA and AHA outline their concerns about IPAB and its implications for their members. Similar letters from the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons, American College of Rheumatology and Alliance of Specialty Medicine, were sent to Congress in support of IPAB repeal. The Health Leadership Council made a additional push for the measure's repeal fearing that the IPAB's mandate to reduce Medicare costs will indirectly target consumers. In order to reduce Medicare costs IPAB will likely force physicians, hospitals and pharmaceutical manufacturers to provide services to program recipients for a small percentage of the going market rate. This will inevitably lead to additional costs being passed to customers as well as a lack of access to new medications and technologies.