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Congressional Republican Leaders Decline to Offer IPAB Appointments

Thursday, May 09, 2013

In a letter dated May 9, 2013, House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) repeated their opposition to the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) and officially declined to submit names to the President for individuals to serve on IPAB.

The leaders explained their opposition to IPAB and wrote that "Because the law will give IPAB’s 15 unelected, unaccountable individuals the ability to deny seniors access to innovative care, we respectfully decline to recommend appointments."  They continued that IPAB may "lead to access problems, waiting lists and denied care for seniors."

Established as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the IPAB consists of an unelected and unaccountable body of 15 individuals tasked with designating Medicare spending cuts.  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.

In a recent House Appropriations Subcommittee Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies hearing, there was disagreement over IPAB procedures should Board members not be appointed.    Congressman and anesthesiologist, Dr. Andy Harris (R-MD), specifically asked Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius what happens if the IPAB is never appointed?  The Secretary replied that then IPAB simply wouldn’t exist.  Congressman Harris disagreed and cited Section 1395kkk (5), the “Contingent secretariat development of the proposal," which states, “If, with respect to a proposal year, the Board is required, but fails, to submit a proposal to Congress and the President by the deadline applicable under paragraph (3)(A)(i), the Secretary shall develop a detailed specific proposal” to implement Medicare spending cuts. 

ASA opposes IPAB and serves as co-founder of the IPAB Repeal Coalition, a group of 26 medical specialties and patient organizations representing more than 350,000 physicians and their patients.


Read the Congressional Republican Leaders letter to President Obama on IPAB appointments.

Watch Congressman Harris discuss IPAB responsibilities with HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

Review the IPAB section of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.


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