The Independent Payment Advisory Board
From The Democratization of Health Care Series
Posted March 3, 2012 | Updated May 4, 2012
By Gary A. Puckrein
Published on the Huffington Post
You probably missed this one, but this bit of legislation will have profound implications not only for your health, but the health of our economy. A provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) created a 15-member
Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), delegating to it the responsibility to develop specific proposals to contain the growth rate of Medicare spending if it is projected to exceed targets also established by the law. These proposals are transmitted to Congress in the form of legislative proposals that must be enacted or substituted on a legislatively mandated basis.
Once it is in place, IPAB can be discontinued only by a joint resolution that must be introduced in January 2017. Since IPAB is not a government agency, and is not promulgating regulations, it is subject neither to open meetings or public comment requirements. There are no options for appealing the IPAB recommendations. The provisions for judicial review appear to be limited to the recommendations issued by IPAB based upon deliberations that are not open to the public. Judicial or administrative review of the Secretary’s implementation of those recommendations is prohibited. The clear intent of the law is to insulate the board and its decision from the full range of traditional democratic processes.
The IPAB approach to problem solving in a democracy is unwarranted under all but the most dire of circumstances. Moreover, if enabled, an approach such as IPAB should have a reasonable chance of solving the stated problem. It does not. The dire circumstance of “unsustainable” health care expenditures that IPAB is built to help resolve is truly a manufactured crisis. That statement may resonate as heresy to established dogma to many readers, but the facts support the statement.
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