Coalition also renews commitment to repeal IPAB
LINTHICUM, Md., Jan. 23, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Urological Association (AUA) today joined 25 other medical organizations in announcing support of the Protecting Seniors' Access to Medicare Act, introduced by Reps. Phil Roe, M.D. (R-TN) and Allyson Schwartz (D-PA). The bipartisan bill would repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB).
Established by the Affordable Care Act, the IPAB is an unelected and unaccountable body of 15 persons tasked with developing ways to reduce Medicare spending and is slated to begin work as early as April 30, 2013. As presently structured, the IPAB cannot include any practicing physicians, presenting a worrisome absence of insight into the needs of patients and physicians alike. Alarmingly, the board is not subject to administrative or judicial review and lacks the typical Congressional oversight requirements of transparent hearings, debate and meaningful opportunities for critical stakeholder input. Any IPAB proposal automatically carries the effect of law unless Congress acts within an extremely limited statutory "fast track" time frame, or unless three-fifths of the Senate votes to override the board. If the IPAB fails to offer a proposal or never becomes operational, its power to cut Medicare spending mandatorily is placed solely in the hands of the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
"The IPAB has the potential to be far-reaching and have devastating effects for patients and physicians, who are already struggling under reimbursement cuts from the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula," said Dr. David F. Penson, M.D., MPH, AUA Health Policy Chair. "Meaningful healthcare reform is about more than simply cutting costs -- it's about generating savings through long-term delivery system reforms.""We applaud and thank Dr. Roe and Congresswoman Schwartz for their leadership on this issue and we hope that this legislation is a priority in the coming months."