650 groups call on Congress to eliminate Medicare budget panel

More than 650 healthcare organizations sent a letter to Congress May 18 calling for repeal of the Independent Payment Advisory Board, a 15-member board established under the ACA to slow the rise of healthcare costs.

Under the ACA, the president appoints members to the IPAB to offer recommendations to curb Medicare expenses, should spending growth surpass a certain threshold. However, no members have been appointed to the IPAB, which has faced strong opposition from Republicans who dub it a "death panel" that could reduce seniors' care access.

The 650 groups include the American Medical Association, Healthcare Leadership Council and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The organizations argue the board "poses a threat" to healthcare access and "will shift healthcare costs to consumers in the private sector and infringe upon the decisionmaking responsibilities and prerogatives of the Congress."

The organizations also argue the board is "more likely to consider short-term savings in the form of payment cuts for healthcare providers" than long-term reform, since the ACA requires it to reach scoreable savings in a one-year timeframe.

More than 500 groups sent a similar request to Congress in 2015. 

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