Sen. Cornyn Introduces Bill To Protect Seniors’ Access to Medicare

Yesterday, I introduced the Protecting Seniors’ Access to Medicare Act of 2013, cosponsored by Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and 30 Senators, which would protect the rights of patients, families, and doctors to make medical decisions by repealing the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB).

If there’s one thing President Obama has made clear, it’s that he wants the government to play an increasing role in the lives of everyday Americans. But time and again, we’ve seen that more government intrusion means less freedom and less individual choices. The President’s IPAB does exactly that, taking personal health care decisions away from seniors and their families and putting greater power in the hands of unaccountable bureaucrats. I’m glad to have the support of many of my colleagues on this important measure to help put a stop to government encroachment.

Background
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act created the IPAB, an unelected, unaccountable board of bureaucrats to make additional cuts to the Medicare program based on arbitrary global budget targets. The IPAB consists of 15 individuals appointed by the President who are tasked with making substantial changes to Medicare—without full transparency and accountability to America’s seniors and their elected officials.  everal additional concerns with the IPAB include:

  • The IPAB takes decision-making authority from elected officials and gives it to the President’s political appointees. If the President fails to appoint members to the IPAB, the Secretary of Health and Human Services is required to put forward a plan that would automatically go into effect unless Congress acts.
  • The IPAB is prohibited from making any meaningful structural reforms to Medicare that would help preserve the program. Instead, its recommendations are essentially limited to provider cuts, which will further exacerbate problems of beneficiary access.
  • During Congress’ debate over health reform, 75 diverse provider groups raised serious concerns about the IPAB. Their letter stated: “The IPAB reductions would be in addition to the…savings in provider payments already included in health care reform legislation, which could jeopardize both access for Medicare beneficiaries and even infrastructure for the entire health care system.”
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