Thursday's House vote to eliminate the Independent Payment Advisory Board, or IPAB as it is commonly known, provides Republicans and some Democrats with symbolic bragging rights and not much more. There's very little likelihood that the Democrat-controlled Senate, which is home to some of IPAB's biggest boosters, will even take up the issue during this legislative session.
That means IPAB, which is part of the massive Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, remains the law of land…for now.
IPAB is the cost-cutting board empowered by PPACA to analyze the drivers of Medicare cost growth and recommend policies to control that growth.
The President, in concert with Congressional leaders, will appoint 15 individual IPAB members who must be confirmed by the Senate. IPAB members will serve six years and make about $165,000 annually. The legislation mentions expertise in things like health finance and economics, actuarial science, and health facility management. Among the membership requirements: employers, physicians, consumers, and experts in prescription drug benefits.
It will be a full-time job, with members expected to keep up with healthcare cost trends, utilization numbers, patient access to care, and quality issues so they can step in when needed to make proposals to rein in Medicare cost.