More Democrats Jumping Off IPAB’s Sinking Ship

NRCC - Democrat Reps. Loretta Sanchez (D-CA) and Tim Bishop (D-NY) recently became the latest cosponsors of a bill to repeal the Independent Payments Advisory Board (IPAB), created under the Democrats’ government takeover of healthcare and empowered to let unelected bureaucrats make healthcare decisions best left to your doctor. Opposition to the panel continues to grow and the repeal bill now boasts a bipartisan list of 198 cosponsors:

REPS. SANCHEZ (D-CA) AND BISHOP (D-NY) JOIN EIGHT OTHER DEMOCRATS IN SUPPORT OF IPAB REPEAL: “Two more Democrats, Reps. Loretta Sanchez (D-CA) and Tim Bishop (D-NY) have signed on to Rep. Phil Roe’s (R-TN) bill to repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) — a 15-member cost-cutting commission established by the Affordable Care Act.” (Igor Volsky, “138 Supporters of Repealing IPAB Voted for IPAB-On-Steroids In Debt Ceiling Deal,” Think Progress, 8/2/2011)

FLASHBACK: 70 DEMOCRATS OPPOSED IPAB WHEN GOVERNMENT TAKEOVER OF HEALTHCARE WAS BEING DRAFTED. “More than 70 House Democrats opposed the IPAB when the health-care law was being drafted, keeping it out of the House version of the bill. Eleven have signed on as co-sponsors of a Republican-authored bill to eliminate the IPAB.” (N.C. Aizenman, “Republicans, Health Industry Lobbyists Target Medicare Cost-Cutting Board,” The Washington Post, 8/13/2011)

Sanchez and Bishop may be responding to growing concerns from patient groups and healthcare stakeholders. A diverse coalition of 270 healthcare groups just recently announced their opposition to IPAB, urging Democrats to repeal the panel they created under the government healthcare takeover:

“All told, some 270 stakeholder groups signed a letter to members of Congress urging them to repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board. …

“The organizations represent doctors, other healthcare providers, employers, drug and medical device manufacturers and some disease-specific advocates — in short, a robust cross-section of the groups that stand to lose as a new and powerful body looks for Medicare savings.” (Sam Baker, “270 Healthcare Groups Back IPAB Repeal,” The Hill, 6/24/2011)

Opposition to IPAB from a number of Democrats and their allies on the left is also growing. Former House Democrat Leader Dick Gephardt recently joined calls for IPAB’s repeal, noting that the board’s Medicare cuts would have “devastating consequences for seniors and disabled Americans”:

GEPHARDT: IPAB WILL “PROPOSE CUTS TO MEDICARE,” WITH “DEVASTATING CONSEQUENCES FOR SENIORS AND DISABLED AMERICANS”: “Under the current law, IPAB will be an unelected and unaccountable group whose sole charge is to reduce Medicare spending based on an arbitrary target growth rate. … Just as important, these cuts are likely to have devastating consequences for the seniors and disabled Americans who are Medicare's beneficiaries because, while technically forbidden from rationing care, the Board will be able to set payment rates for some treatments so low that no doctor or hospital or other healthcare professional would provide them.” (Dick Gephardt, “Medicare Must Remain a Responsibility of Congress,” The Huffington Post, 6/21/2011)

LEFT-WING GROUP: “IPAB TURNS MEDICARE INTO A SCAPEGOAT”: “‘IPAB turns Medicare into a scapegoat,’ said Max Richtman, executive vice president and acting CEO of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare. ‘Medicare will be forced to make reductions without addressing the rest of the health care costs.’” (Jennifer Haberkorn, “Medicare Pay Board Is Losing Vital Support,” Politico, 6/8/2011)

DCCC RECRUITMENT CHAIR REP. ALLYSON SCHWARTZ (D-PA) SAYS OBAMA’S MEDICARE BOARD WILL “CUT PAYMENTS” AND SHOULD BE REPEALED: “IPAB brings unpredictability and uncertainty to providers and has the potential for stifling innovation and collaboration. … We have a choice: Reduce costs through improved delivery of care or simply leave it to this new board to cut payments.” (Rep. Allyson Schwartz, “Opposing View: Repeal Medicare Board,” USA Today, 5/23/2011)

REP. PETE STARK (D-CA): IPAB IS A “MINDLESS-RATE CUTTING MACHINE THAT SETS THE PROGRAM UP FOR UNSUSTAINABLE CUTS”: “It is a mindless-rate cutting machine that sets the program up for unsustainable cuts. That will endanger the health of America’s seniors and people with disabilities. It is an unprecedented abrogation of Congressional authority to an unelected, unaccountable body of so-called experts.” (“Statement of Congressman Pete Stark Supporting Health Care Reform,” Office of Rep. Pete Stark, 3/21/2011)

FORMER REP. RON KLINK (D-PA) SAYS IPAB “IS DEMOCRATS’ ACHILLES’ HEEL,” WILL “GUT MEDICARE”: “Medicare, Medicaid, and healthcare in general are the issues that Democrats hope to ride to victory in the polls in 2012. … But we could easily lose this edge when the public figures out that many Democrats support or at least don't oppose a poorly conceived bureaucracy created under the new healthcare law that will accomplish the same thing they accuse the Ryan plan of doing, gutting Medicare.” (Ron Klink, “IPAB Is Democrats’ Achilles’ Heel,” The Hill, 6/15/2011)

Even though the board remains as unpopular as ever, most top Democrats in Congress and the Obama administration continue to defend the Medicare-cutting panel:

HHS SECRETARY KATHLEEN SEBELIUS OP-ED “IPAB WILL PROTECT MEDICARE.” (Kathleen Sebelius, “IPAB Will Protect Medicare,” Politico, 6/23/2011)

REP. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN (D-MD): “Maryland Rep. Chris Van Hollen, who sits on the Budget Committee, said IPAB is ‘an important tool in the toolbox.’” (Jennifer Haberkorn, “Democrats Split on Independent Payment Advisory Board,” Politico, 7/10/20111)

HEALTHCARE LEADERSHIP COUNCIL: IPAB “WILL ONLY WORSEN THIS HEALTHCARE ACCESS PROBLEM.” (Testimony from Mary Grealy, “Hearing on IPAB: The Controversial Consequences for Medicare and Seniors,” Energy and Commerce Committee, U.S. House of Representatives, 7/13/2011)

AMERICAN COLLEGE OF CARDIOLOGY: IPAB “WILL BE HARMFUL TO PATIENT CARE.” (Testimony from Dr. Jack Lewin, “Hearing on IPAB: The Controversial Consequences for Medicare and Seniors,” Energy and Commerce Committee, U.S. House of Representatives, 7/13/2011)

WOMEN AGAINST PROSTATE CANCER: “NEGATIVE IMPACT ON PATIENT ACCESS TO QUALITY CARE.” (Testimony from Theresa Morrow, “Hearing on IPAB: The Controversial Consequences for Medicare and Seniors,” Energy and Commerce Committee, U.S. House of Representatives, 7/13/2011)

ALLIANCE OF SPECIALTY MEDICINE: IPAB “SEVERELY THREATENING MEDICARE BENEFICIARY ACCESS TO INNOVATIVE THERAPIES AND SPECIALTY CARE.” (Testimony from Dr. Alex Valadka, “Hearing on IPAB: The Controversial Consequences for Medicare and Seniors,” Energy and Commerce Committee, U.S. House of Representatives, 7/13/2011)


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