House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) have told President Barack Obama that they will not assist him in selecting members for ObamaCare’s Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) — the panel charged with deciding which procedures will be covered under Medicare and at what rates.
IPAB is the primary means by which the Affordable Care Act (ACA) seeks to control federal healthcare spending. The board, consisting of 15 members appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate, has the power to force Medicare cuts in any year in which the program’s spending is projected to exceed a target set by the ACA.
“Basically, there’s a certain amount of money that’s allocated for Medicare spending each year,” Rep. Phil Roe (R-Tenn.) told the Daily Caller. “Once you hit that amount that’s been appropriated, this board, this bureaucratically appointed board, can then decide, not based on quality or need, but based on strictly cost” whether to pay for a particular treatment.
According to Wesley J. Smith in the Weekly Standard:
IPAB possesses the raw power to force Congress to legislate via its “fast track authority”; IPAB’s financial targets must be enacted into law by August 15 of each year, beginning in 2014. Not only that, if Congress refuses to legislate the level of cost containment demanded by IPAB (or if the president vetoes the bill), IPAB’s original recommendation is automatically imposed. In other words, IPAB’s cost-cutting word is law. And if that isn’t enough: Congress can’t dissolve IPAB until 2017 — and then only by a supermajority vote of both houses.
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Photo of House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell: AP Images