Earlier, I detailed how President Obama's budget doesn't seriously grapple with our long-term deficit problem. But to the extent it does, one of its major proposals is to call for strengthing the Medicare Independent Payment Advisory Board, the panel of 15 experts created by the national health care law to contain the growth in Medicare spending.
Obama's budget reads:
Strengthen the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) to Reduce Long-Term Drivers of Medicare Cost Growth. Created by the ACA, IPAB has been highlighted by economists and health policy experts as a key contributor to Medicare’s long term solvency. Under current law, if the projected Medicare per capita growth rate exceeds a predetermined target growth rate, IPAB recommends to the Congress policies to reduce the rate of Medicare growth to meet the target. IPAB recommendations are prohibited from increasing beneficiary premiums or cost-sharing, or restricting benefits. To further moderate the rate of Medicare growth, this proposal would lower the target rate from the GDP per capita growth rate plus 1 percent to plus 0.5 percent. Additionally, the proposal would give IPAB additional tools like the ability to consider value-based benefit design.
More evidence that the choice America faces is not between Rep. Paul Ryan's Medicare plan or the status quo. It's a choice between containing costs by giving seniors more control over their health care dollars, or deferring to 15 unelected experts.