KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

House Appoves Bill To Kill Medicare Cost Panel

In what is viewed as a largely symbolic move, the GOP-led House passed a bill that would undo the health law's Medicare cost control board. Though the measure initially drew some Democratic support, those votes all but disappeared after the repeal of the Independent Payment Advisory Board was linked to medical malpractice legislation. The bill is not expected to go anywhere in the Democratic-controlled Senate.   

The New York Times: House Votes To Kill A Medicare Cost Panel
In a rebuff to President Obama, the Republican-controlled House passed a bill on Thursday to abolish a Medicare cost control board created by the new health care law. The bill, approved by a vote of 223 to 181, provoked a full-throated debate on the merits of the law, the Affordable Care Act, on the second anniversary of its signing by Mr. Obama (Pear, 3/22).

The Associated Press: Medicare Rationing? An Election-Year House Vote
House Republicans resurrected the specter of Medicare rationing Thursday in an election-year vote to repeal cost controls in President Barack Obama's health care overhaul. In the GOP crosshairs is a board that has yet to be named but would be empowered to force cuts to drug companies, insurers and other service providers if Medicare spending balloons. A Republican plan announced this week, laying down a dividing line between the parties, also would limit Medicare cost increases, but it would rely on competition among private insurance plans (Alonso-Zaldivar, 3/22).

Reuters: U.S. House Votes To Abolish Medicare Cost Panel
A new Medicare cost-control panel that Republicans said would lead to rationing care for the elderly was voted down by the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday. The Republican-led House voted 223-181 to abolish the Independent Payment Advisory Board, created by President Barack Obama's healthcare law as a way to rein in soaring costs of the Medicare program for the elderly (3/22).

Market Watch: House Repeals Part Of Obama's Health-Care Law
The Republican-led House voted on Thursday to repeal a Medicare cost-control board set up by President Barack Obama's health-care law, in a largely symbolic election-year move. House lawmakers voted 223 to 181 to repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board, a 15-member panel charged with finding ways to keep Medicare's costs in check (Schroeder, 3/22).

McClatchy: GOP-Led House Votes To Delete Plank Of Health Care Law
The House of Representatives voted Thursday to repeal a key part of the 2010 federal health care law, triggering a bitter, partisan debate that's likely to be repeated throughout this election year. The Republican-led House voted 223-181 to do away with a new 15-member board designed to help control Medicare costs, a move that the Democratic-dominated Senate is likely to reject. Yet the House effort had considerable bipartisan support at one time, before it became mired in election-year politics. Both parties see their positions on the health care overhaul as important to their re-election efforts (Lightman, 3/22).

Medscape: House Repeals IPAB, Passes Malpractice Damages Cap
The American Medical Association (AMA) and other medical societies say the IPAB could cut already parsimonious Medicare rates along the lines of the program's sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula, which links reimbursement to spending growth. ... In contrast, the Obama administration has proposed strengthening the IPAB for the sake of reducing Medicare outlays while improving care in the process. In February, Obama released a deficit reduction plan that would lower the spending target in 2018 to GDP growth plus 0.5%. (Lowes, 3/22). 

MedPage Today: House Votes to Scrap Medicare Payment Board
Several prominent Democrats voiced support for the IPAB repeal earlier in the month, including Rep. Frank Pallone of New Jersey and Rep. Allyson Schwartz of Pennsylvania, who also authored legislation to repeal the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula for physician reimbursement under Medicare. However, after House Republicans added a provision to the IPAB bill that limited the amounts of damages awarded in medical malpractice lawsuits to $250,000, Democratic support appeared to disappear (Walker, 3/22).

In other news from Capitol Hill -

Reuters: Boehner: Republicans Will Rally Around Ryan Budget
House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner declared on Thursday that a divided Republican caucus would rally behind the party's deficit-cutting federal budget plan when it comes to the House floor next week... But cuts to Medicare and other social programs could cause problems for more moderate Republicans who face tight re-election races in November (3/22).

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