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U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz issued the following statement announcing her support for the Medicare Decisions Accountability Act (H.R. 452). The legislation would repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), created as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, to assume responsibility for reducing the rate of growth in Medicare without Congressional approval.
Under previous law, changes to Medicare reimbursement rates were recommended by MedPAC but required an act of Congress to take effect.
“Congress is a representative body and must assume responsibility for legislating sound health care policy for Medicare beneficiaries, including those policies related to payment systems. Abdicating this responsibility, whether to insurance companies or an unelected commission, would undermine our ability to represent the needs of the seniors and disabled in our communities.
“As we work to rein in spending in the Medicare program, the promise of Medicare coverage to our seniors must not be broken.
“I cannot condone the implementation of a flawed policy that will risk beneficiary access to care. We can and will address the unsustainable rate of growth in health care spending. Repeal of IPAB will allow us to focus our efforts on the promotion of thoughtful innovations that will achieve cost savings by incentivizing efficient, high quality care for all Americans.
“Since Medicare’s inception, Congressional oversight of the program has ensured transparency and an open dialogue with our constituents that allow us to assess the needs and address the concerns of beneficiaries. We cannot impose a financial burden on patients and providers to conceal inherent flaws in our health care system through arbitrary cuts.
“Furthermore, last month the Congressional Budget Office projected that, under current law, the IPAB mechanism will not affect Medicare spending during the 2011-2021 period, thereby negating its purported value as a cost saver.
“I strongly urge my colleagues to join me in co-sponsoring this legislation.”