On Capitol Hill this week, the health law's independent payment advisory panel drew criticism from both Democrats and Republicans. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was on hand to absorb some of the attacks and answer some of the questions.
PBS Newshour: Rationing Care Or Controlling Costs? Medicare Board Takes Heat On The Hill
Echoes of the once-familiar drumbeat to "repeal and replace" the health care reform law returned to Capitol Hill this week as GOP lawmakers focused on bringing down one of the law's key pillars. The Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) drew the ire of lawmakers from both sides of the aisle as the panel and its ability to sidestep Congress to implement Medicare cuts became the focus of two congressional committee hearings. Called everything from a "pernicious" ration board to realistic price control, the independent committee will recommend cuts to the ballooning Medicare system that would automatically take effect when Congress fails to implement cost-saving measures of its own (Kane, 7/13).
The Hill: GOP Aims For Focused IPAB Attack
House Republicans made a point this week to set aside their broader objections to health care reform and target a specific provision that "scares the s--- out of us," Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.) said Wednesday. The House GOP's criticism of the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) is the most focused, sustained attack on a single piece of the health law since Republicans won the repeal of an unpopular tax reporting provision (Baker, 7/13).
Politico: GOP Dilemma: Handling IPAB Opposition
Republicans can't seem to decide whether they want to lambaste the health reform law's Independent Payment Advisory Board or present a more moderate tone. In theory, Republicans say they're convinced that repealing the IPAB will be easier if they don't make it political — or as nonpolitical as anyone can make health care reform. But it might be too tempting for some lawmakers to let it go quietly (Haberkorn, 7/13).
The Hill: Key Democrat Testifies Against Health Care Reform Bill's Medicare Cost-Control Panel
A key Democrat testified Wednesday against a major provision of the health care reform law that is intended to help control Medicare costs, but that Republicans have alleged will encourage "rationing" of care. Rep. Allyson Schwartz (Pa.), the No. 2 Democrat on the House Budget Committee and a respected voice on health care policy issues, was invited by Energy and Commerce Committee Republicans to speak at a hearing on the law's cost-control panel. She told The Hill that President Obama's stated desire to beef up the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) in order to pare down Medicare costs "was one of the reasons I spoke out" (Pecquet, 7/13).
CQ HealthBeat: House Republicans Debate Future Of IPAB With HHS Secretary
President Obama is "in discussion with a number of potential nominees" for the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told lawmakers at a hearing Wednesday. But she suggested that there is no rush to name the board members because it doesn't need to begin work until 2013. Two witnesses at the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee session — American Enterprise Institute fellow Scott Gottlieb and Georgetown Public Policy Institute professor Judith Feder — said that they had discussed joining IPAB with the administration or congressional staff (Adams, 7/13).
This article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.