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IPAB Repeal Coalition Endorses the Protecting Seniors Access to Medicare Act of 2013

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

On January 22, 2013, the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) Repeal Coalition, which represents more than 350,000 physicians and their patients, was pleased to offer its collective endorsement of Rep. Phil Roe's (R-TN) and Rep. Allyson Schwartz's (D-PA) "Protecting Seniors’ Access to Medicare Act."  This vital legislation would repeal the IPAB, which is slated to begin as early as April 30, 2013.

Established as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the IPAB consists of an unelected and unaccountable body of 15 individuals tasked with designating Medicare spending cuts.  The IPAB cannot include any practicing physicians, presenting a worrisome absence of insight into the needs of patients and physicians alike.  Alarmingly, the board is not subject to administrative or judicial review.

This appointed board lacks the typical Congressional oversight requirements of transparent hearings, debate and meaningful opportunities for critical stakeholder input.  Any IPAB proposal automatically carries the effect of law unless Congress acts within an extremely limited statutory "fast track" time frame, or unless three-fifths of the Senate votes to override the board.  If the IPAB fails to offer a proposal or never becomes operational, its power to cut Medicare spending mandatorily is placed solely in the hands of the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.   

"The time to act is now," said John M. Zerwas, M.D., president of the American Society of Anesthesiologists. "If the IPAB is allowed to proceed, there is no question it will trample the timely access to quality health care our nation’s senior citizens and people with disabilities expect and deserve."

"We thank Dr. Roe and Congresswoman Schwartz for introducing this vital legislation and we strongly believe it should be considered a top priority in the opening months of the 113th Congress.  We are committed to repealing this egregious board on behalf of our patients," concluded Dr. Zerwas. 

The IPAB Repeal Coalition was co-founded by ASA and is a group of 26 medical specialties and patient organizations representing more than 350,000 physicians and their patients.  In the 112th Congress, the coalition spearheaded efforts to inform members of Congress about the dangers the IPAB poses to providing quality health care for our country’s senior citizens and people with disabilities.  The coalition also supported Rep. Roe's bill, H.R. 452, the "Medicare Decisions Accountability Act," a measure to repeal IPAB that recorded 234 bipartisan co-sponsors and passed the House of Representatives. 

Review the endorsement letter.

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