Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi once said that Congress needed to pass the new health care law so the American people can find out what’s in it. Many have since taken her up on that — and they do not like what they see in Obamacare. Seniors on Medicare are particularly alarmed by the new Independent Payment Advisory Board, which could severely restrict their access to treatments and medications.

The advisory board would change Medicare forever. This group of unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats has now been given the power to restrict access to health care for our seniors. They can do so through price controls on medical services that would become law without a vote in Congress.

This board, included in Obamacare, was bad enough to begin with, but now President Barack Obama wants to strengthen it further. After two years of wasteful spending, he sees the new board as the key to reducing Washington’s budget deficit. Instead of reforming our entitlement programs responsibly, he wants to appoint 15 “experts” to balance the budget on the backs of our seniors.

Seniors on Medicare are already discovering what government price controls mean for them. Lower reimbursement rates encourage doctors to limit the number of patients they see or stop seeing them altogether. More than one-third of doctors in our state already limit the number of Medicare patients they see, according to the Texas Medical Association. The new board’s price controls will only accelerate that trend, leading to longer wait times for appointments and treatments.

Similar panels of unelected bureaucrats now treat seniors poorly in other countries. A British panel of government “experts” recently denied coverage for a cancer drug that’s available in the United States and 29 other nations. Earlier this year, Britain’s National Health Service reported widespread abuse and neglect of seniors and concluded that its government-run system is “failing to meet the most basic standards of care.”

Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi once said that Congress needed to pass the new health care law so the American people can find out what’s in it. Many have since taken her up on that — and they do not like what they see in Obamacare. Seniors on Medicare are particularly alarmed by the new Independent Payment Advisory Board, which could severely restrict their access to treatments and medications.

The advisory board would change Medicare forever. This group of unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats has now been given the power to restrict access to health care for our seniors. They can do so through price controls on medical services that would become law without a vote in Congress.

This board, included in Obamacare, was bad enough to begin with, but now President Barack Obama wants to strengthen it further. After two years of wasteful spending, he sees the new board as the key to reducing Washington’s budget deficit. Instead of reforming our entitlement programs responsibly, he wants to appoint 15 “experts” to balance the budget on the backs of our seniors.

Seniors on Medicare are already discovering what government price controls mean for them. Lower reimbursement rates encourage doctors to limit the number of patients they see or stop seeing them altogether. More than one-third of doctors in our state already limit the number of Medicare patients they see, according to the Texas Medical Association. The new board’s price controls will only accelerate that trend, leading to longer wait times for appointments and treatments.

Similar panels of unelected bureaucrats now treat seniors poorly in other countries. A British panel of government “experts” recently denied coverage for a cancer drug that’s available in the United States and 29 other nations. Earlier this year, Britain’s National Health Service reported widespread abuse and neglect of seniors and concluded that its government-run system is “failing to meet the most basic standards of care.”

We should learn from Britain’s mistakes rather than repeat them — and we should also listen to voices of Texans in our state. The IPAB has created “immediate uncertainty at hand,” says Scott & White Healthcare in central Texas, for their 12 hospitals and more than 800 physicians. Many more organizations and associations have expressed similar concerns and urged me to do what I can to repeal this ill-conceived bureaucratic board.

That’s why I have introduced the Health Care Bureaucrats Elimination Act, and why I’m testifying Wednesday on the other side of the Capitol to build support in the House. This legislation seeks to repeal the IPAB completely and defuse this bureaucratic bomb before it explodes.

Opposition to the IPAB is already abipartisan affair in the House. Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), for one, is in favor of abolishing this panel. As Pallone put it, “I’m opposed to independent commissions or outside groups playing a role other than on a recommendatory basis.”

Repealing this unelected board of bureaucrats does not mean giving up on efforts to reduce costs in Medicare. A better model is Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage, which has come in under budget by more than 40 percent. It has achieved this by introducing competition and choice into the system.

Several other initiatives at the state level and in the private sector have also cut costs without sacrificing quality or access to care. Congress should take a look at them as well.

Our seniors have paid their hard-earned money into Medicare for years. They deserve far better than to see their health care placed at the mercy of 15 unelected bureaucrats.

Repeal of this board is the first step to ensuring that we keep faith with those who have put faith in Medicare.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) serves on the Subcommittee on Health Care of the Finance Committee.

This piece originally appeared at Politico.

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16 Responses for “Why Let IPAB Control Health Care?”

  1. Sheila Fahey says:

    Cornyn: you’re a moron. Every single sentence written above is 90% false. The 10% that has any shred of validity is completely eviscerated by your ideological lies.
    Your opening word are not even what Mrs. Pelosi actually said, in its entirety. You must not be taken seriously as long as talking points and rightwing rhetoric and propaganda is all you have to offer.

    THIS is what the TRUTH looks like:

    • Nate Ogden says:

      “THIS is what the TRUTH looks like”

      Sheila, how can the truth be a estimate of what might happen? Your link is opinions and guesses.

      What 90% is not accurate? All the stuff about NHS is documented facts.

      Its docuemnted fact doctors are capping the number of medicare patients they see or not accepting new ones.

      Besides truncating Pelosi’s quote can you cite any errors?

  2. Sheila Fahey says:

    Link that did not appear in my original reply is an article from upi dot com , dated 7/11/2011, which cites several non-partisan studies showing that
    State governments are slated to save $92 billion to $129 billion from 2014 to 2019 as a result of the Affordable Care Act.

    Apparently you’ll have to google the article.

    Read more: http://www.upi.com/Health_News/2011/07/11/Healthcare-reform-to-save-states-100B/UPI-29831310417622/#ixzz1Sr1s5uMA
    http://www.upi.com/Health_News/2011/07/11/Healthcare-reform-to-save-states-100B/UPI-29831310417622/?spt=hs&or=hn

  3. Sheila Fahey says:

    Also, you need a better editor or you should become a better writer before you bloviate and propagandize like this. Paragraph 6 is a duplicate of the same lies you told in paragraph 1.

  4. Sheila Fahey says:

    Link that did not appear in my original reply is an article from upi dot com , dated 7/11/2011, which cites several non-partisan studies showing that
    State governments are slated to save $92 billion to $129 billion from 2014 to 2019 as a result of the Affordable Care Act.

    Apparently you’ll have to google the article.

    • Nate Ogden says:

      When you say state government saves that sounds really specific, is money truly be saved or just paid by someone else?

      Lets say for example the federal government pays the bill instead of the state, what money is saved? The same tax payer is paying the bill, it just comes out of their federal taxes instead of state taxes, not really a savings.

    • Nate Ogden says:

      Sorry I forgot to also correct you on this;

      “which cites several non-partisan studies”

      Robert Wood and Urban Institute are both far from non-partisan, they are both solid liberal propoganda organizations. Neither of them have a respectable history of insurance studies either, they are pure 100% political organizations.

  5. Before you worry about IPAB, maybe you should worry about the RUC (RBRVS Update Committee), an unelected AMA committee whose membership was secret (until revealed by investigative reporters at the WSJ), whose proceedings are secret, and which controls what physicians are paid.

    See: http://hcrenewal.blogspot.com/search/label/RUC
    http://replacetheruc.org/

    The RUC is the single most important reason that our health care system favors expensive, invasive, and potentially dangerous procedures, and disfavors primary care.

    CMS has relied almost entirely on the RUC to fix payments to physicians, has sought advice about these payments nowhere else, and allows no substantial public input into the process.

    The RUC claims its membership was kept secret to protect it from conflicts of interest. It now appears, however, that it may have been conceal its members’ conflicts. See:
    http://hcrenewal.blogspot.com/2011/04/rucing-about-conflicts-of-interest.html

    The IPAB may not be elected, but at least we will know who its membership will be and whether they have conflicts of interest, and at least it will be subject to legislative oversight.

  6. Dr. Mike says:

    Typical partisan dribble. And typical partisan response. Neither adds anything to the discussion.

  7. Dr. Mike says:

    Last time I checked it was congress who passed the legislation that created Medicare, and it should be congress who shoulders the responsibility of ensuring its financial viability. Passing the responsibility off to some non-congressional committee is reprehensible – but so is failing to make the hard decisions necessary to keep it viable. Congress is so full of pseudo-partisan bickering while behind the scenes they all have their hands out to the same corporate donors. They purposfully foment partisian division among the public as a distraction from their own ineptitude and greed. There is so much wealth concentrated among the 100 senators it is unreal. And yet the liberals and conservatives amongst us both put forward their champion politians to do battle, all the while Rome burns… If you have a champion among the politicians, you should be so ashamed.

  8. steve says:

    Once again we have a GOP politician arguing against a program intended to control costs based upon a tested model, base closures. They claim that it will lead to patients not getting care. Then, they forget to mention that there proposed plans will leave many seniors w/o any health care insurance as they will convert Medicare to a more costly private insurance, while placing most of the cost burden on seniors. If docs are not willing to treat seniors who pay less, why will we see patients with no insurance?

    If we are going to discuss the NHS, we should do so with two facts in mind. First it serves as a strawman since no one was proposing an NHS like system for the US. Secondly, their system costs about half of what ours does, yet the Brits are happier with our system then we are with ours. The British are too cost conscious. They need to spend more. This is nothing like the US system.

    Steve

  9. Barry Carol says:

    Personally, I would be willing to give IPAB a chance to make the sensible cost vs. benefits tradeoffs necessary to restore and then sustain Medicare’s financial viability over the long term. I would certainly prefer legislative oversight and knowing who the Board’s members are to the unaccountable RUC that protects the fees paid to expensive specialists and underpays primary care docs. In the worst case, patients who want something that IPAB determines either doesn’t work or isn’t worth its cost can either self-pay or try to find a charity to pay on their behalf. We can’t afford to give everything to everyone no matter how high the cost or how marginal the benefit.

  10. Maggie Mahar says:

    Sheila–

    You are right. It is a shame that THCB has decided to post so many pieces that are in no way “fact-based”–just propaganda.

    This doesn’t mean that people who represent a conservative or progressive
    point of view shouldn’t be published on THCB,. But they should offer links to reserach or studies that support their facts.

    These days, too many THCB bloggers simply asser their personal opinions and prejudices, without evidence.

    • Nate Ogden says:

      Your talking about the Robert Reich post right? The one withiout any supporting links making arguments that have been discredited? I agree Maggie we do need fewer post like his.

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