Rationing care or controlling costs? Medicare board takes heat on the Hill

PBS News Hour, July 14, 2011

Echoes of the once-familiar drumbeat to "repeal and replace" the health care reform law returned to Capitol Hill this week as GOP lawmakers focused on bringing down one of the law's key pillars. The Independent Payment Advisory Board drew the ire of lawmakers from both sides of the aisle as the panel and its ability to sidestep Congress to implement Medicare cuts became the focus of two congressional committee hearings. Called everything from a "pernicious" ration board to realistic price control, the independent committee will recommend cuts to the ballooning Medicare system that would automatically take effect when Congress fails to implement cost-saving measures of its own. While the Obama administration sees the board as a vital way to bring down prices in the health care industry, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius defended the board Tuesday by downplaying its importance.


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