BOHEMIA, NY, June 24 – There’s been too little media coverage of one of the most insidious provisions of the Affordable Care Act, namely the establishment of a so-called Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), according to Dan Weber, president of the Association of Mature American Citizens. “The board is not quite a death panel, but it is as close as you can get,” he said.
AMAC first reported on the dangerous implications of establishing the IPAB last fall, Weber pointed out. “We supported the call by Rep. Phil Roe, M.D. (R-TN) to repeal the Obamacare’s authorization establishing the board. And, in January Dr. Roe introduced legislation to repeal the IPAB mandate, which we fully support.”
In an Op Ed published on Friday [link], Weber wrote that “the IPAB is charged with enforcing a limit on Medicare spending growth. Though ObamaCare prohibits the board from rationing care, the mandate to cut Medicare can lead to nothing else. Once payments to doctors are reduced, health care providers will have no choice but to limit the number of Medicare patients they see – causing seniors’ access to care to be greatly diminished or foregone completely in some instances.”
The Roe bill has broad bi-partisan support, he said, “yet the administration seems to be pulling out all the stops to quash the legislation with the result that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sibelius may actually wind up taking over the board’s responsibilities unless the IPAB’s authority is repealed.”
Weber said he is calling on all organizations and influential individuals purporting to be advocates for older Americans to unite in keeping the spotlight on the IPAB issue.
The AMA has already chimed in, calling the IPAB “a panel that would have too little accountability and the power to make indiscriminate cuts that adversely affect access to health care for patients.”
Weber pledged in his editorial that AMAC will “continue to fight against the institution of this unconstitutional panel, as we fully understand the high stakes involved for all Americans – particularly seniors.
“Perhaps the most unsettling aspect of the IPAB is the fact that it is accountable to no branch of government. Virtually removed from the Constitution’s separation-of-powers principle, members of the IPAB can only be absolved from the board for neglect or malfeasance. This enables a board in Washington – which is not required to have any training or experience in the medical profession – to make highly consequential decisions about health care delivery in our country without any real oversight or actual debate.”
Weber stated AMAC’s position. “We fight for the things that older Americans and seniors want and need, including the preservation of Medicare. Polls show that the majority of Americans, particularly our membership and that of AARP, don’t like Obamacare because it threatens to destroy Medicare. Its Independent Payment Advisory Board would give unelected bureaucrats sweeping powers that need to be checked. And, AMAC is one senior advocacy organization that will not allow political relationships and ideologies to interfere with its mission.”
NOTE TO EDITORS: Dan Weber is available for telephone interviews on this issue. Editors/reporters may contact John Grimaldi at 917-846-8485 or firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a call.