KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

House Votes To Repeal Medicare’s IPAB

The Hill: House Approves The Repeal Of Cost-Cutting Healthcare Board
The House on Thursday afternoon approved legislation that would repeal a government board tasked with finding Medicare savings, and institute medical tort reform across the country. Members approved H.R. 5, the Protecting Access to Healthcare (PATH) Act, by a 223-181 vote in which only seven Democrats supported the bill and 10 Republican opposed (Kasperowicz, 3/22).

The Associated Press: House Moves To Repeal Medicare Cost Board
The Independent Payment Advisory Board was created by President Barack Obama's health care overhaul law to keep Medicare costs from zooming out of control. Republicans have branded the panel a rationing board. By targeting IPAB (pronounced "EYE-pab"), Republicans hope they can persuade seniors that they, and not the Democrats, are the best stewards of Medicare. ... Even some Democrats oppose the panel, but House Republicans have made it difficult to attract Democratic votes for repeal by adding other politically charged provisions to their bill (Alonso-Zaldivar, 3/22).

CNN: House Votes To Repeal Key Health Care Reform Provision
While the move to repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board is expected to eventually fall short in the Senate, it gives opponents of health care reform a rallying point for their continued efforts to undermine the 2010 law. Opponents said the board would ration medical coverage for senior citizens based on cost and effectiveness, something more appropriately addressed, they said, between individual doctors and patients. ... That's not the intent or the reality of the advisory board, said Dr. Donald Berwick, the former administrator of the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (Cohen, 3/22).

MSNBC: House Votes To Repeal Key 'Obamacare' Provision
The 2010 Affordable Care Act which created the board, says IPAB can’t ration care, restrict benefits, increase the premiums Medicare recipients must pay, or alter the eligibility for Medicare. But it can limit or change payments to doctors, hospitals, hospices, and other providers. After the vote, the chief proponent of IPAB, Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D- W.V., issued a statement denouncing the move to abolish it. “Today’s House vote is a good example of what happens when special interests win – seniors lose,” he said
(Curry, 3/22).

Earlier coverage included information about a controversial aspect of the bill -- 

Politico Pro: IPAB-Tort Reform Link Disappoints Some
Some congressional Republicans are venting their frustrations with GOP leaders for using tort reform to pay for a repeal of the Independent Payment Advisory Board, saying the decision ruined their shot at a successful bipartisan repeal of the board (Nocera, 3/22).

Kaiser Health News: The IPAB: The Center Of A Political Clash Over How To Change Medicare
It sounds like a new Apple product, but IPAB is actually a controversial board that is at the heart of House Republicans' efforts to upend the 2010 federal health law--or at least make it a strong campaign issue (Vaida, updated 3/21).

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