Lawmaker wants debt supercommittee to kill Medicare pay panel

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Sept. 12, 2011

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The special committee tasked with cutting at least $1.2 trillion from future federal budgets should eliminate the Medicare Independent Payment Advisory Board as well, said Rep. Phil Roe, MD, (R, Tenn.).

Dr. Roe wrote Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R, Texas) and Sen. Patty Murray (D, Wash.), the co-chairs of the committee, to request that they repeal the 15-member IPAB, which was authorized by the health system reform law to make Medicare program cuts when projected spending exceeds growth targets.

Dr. Roe compared the IPAB's function to the Medicare sustainable growth rate formula, a budget mechanism that is scheduled to cut physician payments by nearly 30% in 2012. Congress has stopped SGR cuts from occurring in previous years, and stopping future payment reductions is expected to cost about $300 billion over the next decade.

"The IPAB also has tremendous fiscal implications," Dr. Roe said. "As with SGR, the IPAB is intended to restrain the skyrocketing cost of health care. Congress, however, has shown little appetite to enforce the cuts required by SGR."

Eliminating the IPAB, a move strongly supported by organized medicine, could increase deficits unless additional cuts are found elsewhere. A January analysis by the Congressional Budget Office concluded that repealing the IPAB would increase federal spending by $14 billion.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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