IPAB Has to Go, Providers and Advocates Urge

Cheryl Clark, April 26, 2013

Some 500 healthcare provider groups and companies, patient advocates and employers on Thursday signed a letter to Congress urging repeal of the Independent Payment Advisory Board in fear that not only will its cost-cutting powers hurt patients' access to care, but that it will also raise costs for employers, and actually raise costs in the long run.

"Beneficiaries should have access to high quality care that emphasizes wellness and prevention (and…) programs should be sustainable, so today's working households know it will be there for them in the future," said Mary Grealy, president of the non-partisan Healthcare Leadership Council, a Washington, D.C. group that organized the letter.

However, she said, "The IPAB concept does not bring us closer to these Medicare goals. In fact there is a strong body of evidence telling us that IPAB will actually undermine healthcare quality and accessibility."

The council represents about 50 diverse health companies, from drug and device manufacturers to health insurers, hospitals, and employers such as Abbott and Aetna, the Mayo Clinic, and Walgreens.

Grealy made the remarks at a news conference to support the Protecting Seniors' Access to Medicare Act of 2013. That bill would repeal IPAB, a panel of 15 political appointees who would—in the event healthcare costs per Medicare beneficiary reach a certain level—have broad powers to apply targeted or across-the-board cuts to the healthcare sector to level federal expenditures.

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