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Obama Deficit Reduction Plan Prompts Call for Repeal of IPAB

   April 15, 2011

Healthcare stakeholders are beginning to respond to President Obama's plan to reduce the federal deficit by $4 trillion over the next 12 years.

With healthcare on the hook to deliver $480 billion in savings by 2023 and another $1 trillion in savings by 2033, Medicare and Medicaid are among the most visible programs slated for changes that the administration hopes will reduce the cost of care but not the quality.

Changes would also come to the Independent Payment Advisory Board, a 15-member commission of doctors, nurses, medical experts, and consumers who recommend ways to reduce spending, was mentioned three times in the president's speech. Mr. Obama proposed to strengthen IPAB, provide it with additional enforcement measures, and to give the board additional tools to improve the quality of care such as promoting value-based benefit designs.

IPAB is a sticking point across the board. Physicians groups such as the American Medical Association, the American College of Cardiology, and the American Hospital Association, have long voiced their concerns about the board, which was created by the Affordable Care Act, and has the power to analyze the drivers of Medicare cost growth and then recommend to Congress policies to reduce that growth.

Congress must either vote on IPAB's recommendations or enact policies that achieve equivalent savings.

Margaret Dick Tocknell is a reporter/editor with HealthLeaders Media.

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