IPAB Repeal Arguments Weak, For Now
Reading the opposing views of IPAB, the charge that it puts an "unelected" team of "bureaucrats" in charge of healthcare payment policy makes it seem un-American.
Yet that claim puts me in the same frame of mind as those (generally politicians again) who decried the stupidity of the sequester yet never found a way to do it better. In that case as in this one, remember that Congress created both IPAB and the sequester. That's why it ultimately went into effect.
No one who depends on getting elected for his or her (generous) paycheck ever wants to make a decision that cuts government funding to those who elect them. Yes, taking a meat cleaver to the federal budget isn't the most effective way to reduce spending, but given the nature of the game, it appears to be the only thing that works.
Maybe the fact that IPAB members don't have to worry about getting re-elected (the 15-member board is appointed by the President to varying terms) is the precise reason so many in the healthcare industry are so afraid of IPAB—it might just work. Maybe IPAB is part of the solution. Something has to be. At least we should let it try. As these bills have shown, it can always be repealed.
Philip Betbeze is senior leadership editor with HealthLeaders Media.
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