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ASA to Super Committee: Protect Anesthesiologists' Payments and Repeal IPAB

Friday, October 14, 2011

On October 13, ASA urged the 12 members of the Congressional Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, the "Super Committee," to protect anesthesiologists' Medicare payments from cuts and to repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB). 

The Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction is tasked with developing by Thanksgiving a plan supported by at least seven of the twelve members of the committee that includes between $1.2 trillion and $1.5 trillion in federal spending reductions (over a ten year period).

In ASA's letter to the Committee, ASA President Mark A. Warner, M.D., wrote, “we strongly urge the Committee to forego any Medicare payment reductions to physician services, in general, and to anesthesiologists’ services, in particular.” The communication delved into anesthesia’s unique 33% payment problem and the problem’s potential effects on the future of anesthesiology.    Moreover, Dr. Warner underscored that for anesthesiology's ongoing efforts to improve patient safety to succeed, the specialty "must be supported by adequate and reasonable payment rates by all payers including the Medicare program."

Dr. Warner also urged the Committee to act to repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) noting that IPAB “could press for significant cuts to Medicare physician payments including cuts to already historically disadvantaged specialties such as anesthesiology.”

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) created IPAB, an unaccountable and unelected board of bureaucrats with sweeping powers to mandate, added across-the-board or other targeted reductions in Medicare Part B payments on top of SGR cuts. IPAB usurps Congressional authority over the Medicare program and would have the authority to override previous legislative decisions made by Congress.

Dr. Warner's letter follows over two months of direct ASA lobbying of Super Committee members and staff.

To read the entire letter, click here.

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