We’re at the Forefront of the Effort to Repeal IPAB and Preserve Patient Access to Care

Recently, AOAO joined more than 650 organizations, representing healthcare stakeholders from all 50 states, to urge Congress to repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB).

Established by the Affordable Care Act as a tool to reduce Medicare spending, IPAB is a board of presidential appointees charged with making recommendations for cutting Medicare expenditures once the program’s spending growth reaches an arbitrary level.  Experts say that this threshold will be met in 2017 and IPAB will go into effect – posing an imminent threat to healthcare access for the nation’s 55 million Medicare beneficiaries.  IPAB-recommended cuts become law unless they are overturned by a supermajority in Congress.

As designed, IPAB is a blunt instrument that will not add value to the Medicare program, but rather will focus on reducing what Medicare pays for healthcare services and treatments.  Providers are already reimbursed less by Medicare than they are by private health insurance, and IPAB could drive these payments down further, affecting the ability of physicians to treat a growing population of Medicare beneficiaries.  IPAB also threats to shift more health costs to consumers and employers.

There is wide bipartisan support in Congress to eliminate IPAB, but repeal needs to take place immediately before it can be triggered into action.  Two bills to eliminate IPAB have been introduced in the U.S. Senate, one by Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) and another by Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR).  An IPAB repeal resolution has been introduced in the U.S. House by Congressmen Phil Roe (R-TN) and Raul Ruiz (D-CA), with a full repeal bill expected imminently.  It is essential that we urge Democratic and Republican Senators to cosponsor the Wyden and Cornyn repeal bills.

We all agree that Congress must pursue alternative approaches that achieve cost-efficiency while improving care quality.  These efforts must be evidence-based and made in the best interest of the doctor-patient relationship.

IPAB will neither strengthen Medicare nor meet the needs of the more than 55 million Americans who depend on the program for their health and well-being.  It must be repealed.

More information can be found at the Protect My Doctor and Me website: www.protectmydoctorandme.com.  Also follow the discussion on Twitter at @MyDrAndMe

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