The U.S. House of Representatives has started the process of repealing one of the Affordable Care Act’s central cost-cutting reforms: the Independent Payment Advisory Board. The purpose of the board as originally conceived, however, was to protect the Medicare program from special interests. For too long these special interests have wielded their money and used their lobbyists to block or delay commonsense reforms that would strengthen Medicare and put the program on a sustainable path.
With the Independent Payment Advisory Board, policy recommendations will be driven by science, data, evidence, the expert advice of physicians, and the input of stakeholders—not by the lobbying clout of special interests. The final say will still rest with Congress, but doing nothing will no longer be an option.
The Independent Payment Advisory Board is essential to reducing health care costs while improving the quality of care. The board will save taxpayers money, limit the growth in Medicare spending, and reduce federal budget deficits and the federal debt. It will do so by changing the way health care is paid for and delivered—not by rationing care or cutting benefits. If the Independent Payment Advisory Board is repealed or hamstrung, the only alternative would be to ration care by privatizing Medicare, shifting costs to beneficiaries, and restricting eligibility.
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