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AHA supports IPAB repeal bill

March 8, 2013

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The AHA last week expressed support for S. 351, legislation to repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) created by the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” (ACA) to set Medicare reimbursement rates.

“America’s hospitals support
the repeal of IPAB because its existence permanently removes Congress from the process of making decisions regarding Medicare payment, and threatens the important dialogue between hospitals and their elected officials about how hospitals can continue to provide the highest quality care to their patients and communities,” AHA Executive Vice President Rick Pollack said in a Feb. 25 letter of support to the bill’s sponsor, Sen. John Cornyn, R-TX. “Furthermore, any savings achieved through IPAB would come directly from providers, as IPAB is precluded from recommending structural changes to the Medicare program.”

Under the ACA, the 15-member board would submit cost-reduction proposals to Congress if Medicare spending grows faster than gross domestic product plus 1%. If Congress declined to approve those cuts or make equivalent cuts of its own, the secretary of Health and Human Services would be required to enforce them. Hospitals – except for critical access hospitals – are shielded from IPAB’s recommendations until 2020.

In his letter to Cornyn, Pollack said the board’s “shortsighted approach ensures deeper cuts to Medicare provider payments, which already fall short of covering the cost of care.” While hospi­
tals will not be affected by IPAB decisions until 2020, Pollack said the AHA is “deeply concerned that removing elected officials from the decision-making process could result in even deeper cuts to the Medicare program in the future.”

For more on the AHA’s letter, click on:
http://tinyurl.com/cb2qmo6.

A similar IPAB repeal measure, H.R. 351, was introduced in the House in January by Reps. Phil Roe, R-TN, and Allyson Schwartz, D-PA.