During the week of June 15, the House of Representatives is poised to vote on H.R. 1190, the Protecting Seniors’ Access to Medicare Act, which would repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB). Please send an instant email to your Representative  and ask that he or she vote YES on H.R. 1190—a key legislative priority for ASCRS•ASOA and the entire medical community. H.R. 1190 is bipartisan legislation, sponsored by Reps. Phil Roe, MD (R-TN) and Linda Sanchez (D-CA), and has an additional 235 co-sponsors—more than a majority of the House.
Despite this bipartisan support to repeal IPAB, House Republicans have prepared an amendment that would off-set the cost of the bill by reducing funding for the Prevention and Public Health Fund. This will likely reduce Democratic support for the measure. The White House has also issued a statement of administration policy threatening to veto the bill. It is imperative that ASCRS•ASOA members contact their Representatives to urge passage of H.R. 1190.
Background: IPAB, created as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), is made up of 15 unelected, unaccountable members appointed by the President. The members are required to make recommendations to Congress on how to lower costs to the Medicare program and Medicare physician payment policies. When Medicare growth exceeds the given target, the IPAB must develop a proposal to reduce Medicare spending without causing a reduction in patient benefits. This effectively means IPAB’s focus will be on reductions to physician reimbursements. The implementation of IPAB will cause myriad problems, ranging from deficiencies in patient care to lower provider reimbursement rates.
While IPAB was scheduled to go into effect in 2015, no members have been named to the board and Medicare growth has not reached the threshold that would trigger action from the board. In fact, Medicare spending growth has decreased in recent years.
Despite that, conditions may change in the future and IPAB would remain a threat to physicians and patients alike. ASCRS•ASOA and the entire medical community have consistently supported efforts to repeal IPAB since its inception.