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Physician Groups Blast IPAB, Rally Behind Repeal Effort

Doug Desjardins, January 25, 2013

IPAB an "unelected, unaccountable body"
Several other physician groups weighed in on the bill, including the Congress of Neurological Surgeons and the American Association of Neurological Surgeons.

"Allowing an unelected, unaccountable body with minimal congressional oversight to have the power to make arbitrary cuts to Medicare will negatively affect timely access to quality healthcare for our patients," said John A. Wilson, MD, Washington Committee chairman for the AANS and the Congress of Neurological Surgeons.

Wilson added that the IPAB should be repealed and replaced with a "bipartisan, workable alternative that reimburses physicians effectively and safeguards access to care" for Medicare beneficiaries.

Critics also note that practicing physicians would not be eligible to serve as members of the board, an absence they contend leaves members with little insight into the needs of physicians and their patients.

In introducing the bill, Roe said that "as a physician with more than 30 years of experience, I find the ability of this board to intervene in the patient-doctor relationship particularly troubling." The bill was introduced on Jan. 23 with 83 congressional cosponsors.

Roe introduced a similar bill in 2012 that was approved by the House in a 223-181 vote but did not pass the Senate. Given that the bill was largely supported along party lines with a few exceptions, it is likely to follow a similar path in 2013.

"With Democrats still in control of the Senate, I don't see the bill being approved," said Dylan Roby, associate director of the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research in Los Angeles.

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1 comments on "Physician Groups Blast IPAB, Rally Behind Repeal Effort"


Cyndy Nayer (1/25/2013 at 10:12 AM)
The idea that physicians must wait every year to find out what their pay will be, according to the SGR, means that much of the year is not only focused on keeping up with evidence of good medicine but also managing a budget that has little or no predictability. CMS is now paying for outcomes (less readmissions for 3 conditions) as a part of the contractual arrangement for hospitals. Why can't physicians have a 3-year contract with achievable metrics? Why shouldn't a practicing physician sit on the IPAB board as a representation of the market sector, a voice to be heard? I do not think that FFS, uncontrolled, has worked well in this country, and we all concede that fraud in Medicare and Medicaid must be brought under control. But treating physicians as the "problem" does not solve the economic escalation of the costs. Let's bring folks together to solve the problems and provide a longer runway for doctors to support the change in health behaviors, including reduction in redundant imaging, appropriate use of treatments, etc., in a more predictable contract.