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Despite House Vote, IPAB Lives

Margaret Dick Tocknell, for HealthLeaders Media, March 23, 2012

There have been media reports that President Obama has reviewed some candidates for the IPAB board, but the administration is playing it close to the vest with public information about potential candidates. The board is supposed to be in place in 2013.

Timothy Jost, a law school professor at Washington & Lee University who has studied IPAB, tells HealthLeaders Media that he hasn't seen any movement toward putting IPAB in place. Noting that IPAB members won't be able to do research or consult during their six-year terms, he says, "I can't imagine anyone signing up for it."

How IPAB will work
Supporters see IPAB as similar to Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) but with the power to actually implement what it thinks needs to be done. IPAB recommendations to reduce Medicare costs will be put in place unless Congress votes to block them and comes up with equivalent cost-cutting measures.

In reducing costs, there are a lot of things IPAB can't do, such as raise Medicare revenues or premiums, increase Medicare beneficiary cost-sharing (including deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments), or restrict or reduce benefits. Critics contend that the only thing left for IPAB to regulate is some provider reimbursements, which could limit access to care. Hospitals are exempt from IPAB until 2020.

The board will look at Medicare costs through the lens of inflation as well as the gross domestic product.

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1 comments on "Despite House Vote, IPAB Lives"


Tyco Branh (3/23/2012 at 12:10 PM)
IPAB is one of the strongest ways we can try to bring down costs and increase quality. Without the pressure of special interest groups, these members can look at the science and decide objectively. Of course groups like doctors and pharma companies, afraid of how the decisions will hurt the bottom line, hate this idea.