government

House bill to repeal Medicare IPAB reaches 218 sponsors

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Dec. 19, 2011

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Legislation to eliminate the Medicare Independent Payment Advisory Board had more than 218 co-sponsors in the House as of Dec. 7, passing a threshold that likely guarantees its passage in that chamber once it is put to a vote.

The American Medical Association and other physician organizations support repealing the payment control board established by the health system reform law. The IPAB would have broad authority to slash Medicare pay if spending were projected to exceed predetermined targets, unless overridden by substantial majorities in Congress. Rep. Phil Roe, MD (R, Tenn.), introduced the Medicare Decisions Accountability Act of 2011 on Jan. 26 and has built support for the legislation throughout the year.

"The IPAB is simply the wrong solution for addressing budgetary challenges in our Medicare system, and its repeal must be considered with urgency before it gets too expensive to overturn," Dr. Roe said. "By repealing the IPAB now, we will ensure that medical decisions are made between patients and their doctor, not unelected Washington bureaucrats."

The legislation had 220 co-sponsors, including 15 Democrats, on Dec. 12, according to Dr. Roe's office. It remains unclear whether the bill would gain the 60 votes in the Senate needed to overcome an objection in the upper chamber.

Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2011/12/19/gvbf1219.htm.

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