FEDERAL | Bipartisan Support for IPAB Repeal Grows in Congress
Legislation that would repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) was recently introduced in both the House and the Senate. IPAB was created by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The board is designed to make recommendations to broadly cut Medicare spending should it exceed certain target levels. Medicare's Trustees project that IPAB will be triggered for the first time in 2017. The ACA also limited the power of Congress to question the unelected board's cuts. IPAB's recommendations can only be rejected if Congress comes up with a plan to match its cuts.
ASPS has been fighting for the repeal of IPAB since passage of the ACA. These efforts have been recently renewed due to the change in administration, as well as the looming threat of the board forming and cutting Medicare. Congress is currently undertaking two different methods to halt the formation of IPAB. The ACA allowed for a one-time process to discontinue the fast-track process for considering IPAB cuts if a joint resolution was introduced by February 1. Congress met the statutory deadline by introducing three identical joint resolutions. In addition, three bills to fully repeal the board were introduced. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced both a resolution S.J.Res. 16 and a bill S. 251 that would prevent the IPAB process from moving forward. Senator Wyden's bill had six Democratic cosponsors on February 22nd. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) also introduced both a joint resolution S.J.Res. 17 and a repeal bill S. 260, which had 28 Republican cosponsors as of February 22nd. In the House, Rep. David Roe (R-TN) and Rep. Raul Ruiz (D-CA) – both physicians – introduced H.J. Res. 51 and H.R. 849. The latter had 16 Republican cosponsors as of February 22nd.
ASPS has submitted comments supporting the repeal efforts and has participated in comments with the Alliance of Specialty Medicine and the Healthcare Leadership Council. ASPS has also been in contact with the sponsors' offices offering to aid their repeal efforts. Additionally, ASPS worked with the Healthcare Leadership Council and requested that Representative Ruiz cosign Representative Roe's bill, which he ultimately did. The largest hurdle facing IPAB repeal going forward will be convincing Democrats that repealing IPAB, passed as part of the ACA, is in the best interest of Medicare patients and the country. A great deal of education needs to be done on the issue, and some Democrats who are educated about IPAB repeal are citing concerns about the cost of the bill, which is expected to be upwards of $20 billion.