Protecting Seniors Access to Medicare Act (H.R. 351)

Washington, DC (January 25, 2013) – Dr. Gary A. Puckrein, President and CEO of the National Minority Quality Forum, released the following statement in support of the Protecting Seniors Access to Medicare Act (H.R. 351), which would repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB):

“The National Minority Quality Forum supports implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and applauds President Obama for his visionary leadership in extending insurance coverage to approximately 40 million Americans. In our increasingly diverse society, however, it is imperative that we have an honest and open discussion about the investment required to build an American healthcare research, delivery and financing system that will support the provision of the highest quality care to all Americans. Unfortunately IPAB, a cost-containment mechanism that is a provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, has the potential to stymie that essential national conversation.”

“The 15-member IPAB will 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.”

“We are concerned that IPAB and its decisions are insulated from the full range of traditional democratic checks and balances. This is unwise and unwarranted. Instead of this draconian measure, we must pursue an integrated and practical approach to improving our nation’s healthcare system that will assure that the improved health status of the consumer of those services is the primary measure of success.”

“The National Minority Quality Forum commends Rep. Phil Roe and Rep. Allyson Schwartz for reintroducing the legislation to repeal IPAB. The National Minority Quality Forum will continue to collaborate with stakeholders in the public and private sectors to assure that the increasingly diverse American general population has access to an innovative, consumer-oriented healthcare system.”