500+ groups—mostly provider associations—call for the end of IPAB

Groups include the AMA, Healthcare Leadership Council

More than 500 groups in a letter to lawmakers have called for a repeal of the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB).

IPAB is a 15-member panel of health care experts established under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to make cost-cutting recommendations for Medicare annually if program spending exceeds a target growth rate of 3.03%. The recommendations would take effect unless Congress develops an equivalent alternative.

Although it was scheduled to convene in 2014, the panel was not required to make recommendations that year because the projected growth rate is 1.15%, according to CMS. The Obama administration has not yet nominated any panel members.

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Details of the letter

According to The Hill, most groups that signed on to the letter were health care providers. Signatories included the:

  • American Medical Association;
  • Healthcare Leadership Council;
  • U.S. Chamber of Commerce; and
  • Vietnam Veterans of America.

The groups expressed concern that because IPAB is tasked with considering savings in annual timeframes, it would be "more likely to consider short-term savings in the form of payment cuts for health care providers" than to "pursu[e] long-term reforms that may not achieve immediate savings." They added, "This would be devastating for patients, affecting access to care and innovative therapies."

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In addition, they wrote that the process by which IPAB would make decisions would be "unacceptable," as an "unelected board without adequate oversight or accountability would be taking actions historically reserved for the public's elected representatives in the U.S. House and Senate" (Sullivan, The Hill, 5/5).

The takeaway: Provider groups continued to criticize IPAB in a letter to lawmakers, arguing that the panel's cuts would hamper patient care and calling on Congress to repeal the panel.

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