House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., sent a letter to President Obama Thursday informing him that they would not be making recommendations for the Independent Payment Advisory Board, as they are allowed to do under the president’s 2010 health care reform law.
“We believe Congress should repeal IPAB, just as we believe we ought to repeal the entire health care law,” the Boehner and McConnell letter reads.
The IPAB is the signature health care cost-control device of Obamacare. If Medicare spending grows faster than specific targets set by the law, IPAB is empowered to reduce payments to health care providers or eliminate coverage for specific treatments and procedures entirely. Congress would need a three-fifths majority to overturn IPAB’s cost-control measures.
The members of the IPAB are all appointed by the President and subject to Senate confirmation. But the law also requires the President to get recommendations for appointments from the majority and minority leaders of the Senate and the House Speaker and minority leader. By refusing to make recommendations, Boehner and McConnell give Obama more freedom to appoint members he prefers.
“Your recent budget called for expanding IPAB by tasking it with making even larger cuts to Medicare than those called for in the health law,” the Boehner and McConnell letter reads, “even though the trustees of the Medicare program have told us that IPAB’s provider cuts would be “difficult to achieve in practice,” because of the denied care that seniors would experience ... We hope establishing this board never becomes a reality, which is why full repeal of the Affordable Care Act remains our goal.”