Noting that the sustainable growth-rate formula for Medicare payment creates "steep Medicare cuts that Congress has had to scramble each year to avoid," the American Medical Association announced its support for legislation to eliminate the Independent Payment Advisory Board. "Adding additional formulaic cuts through IPAB is just not rational and would be detrimental to patient care," according to the AMA.
AMA supports bill to nix IPAB
In a letter to Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Pa.) (PDF), chairman of the House Subcommittee on Health, AMA CEO and Executive Vice President Dr. James Madara declared the organization's support for House Resolution 452 (PDF), which is being called the Medicare Decisions Accountability Act of 2011.
"At a time in which Congress is struggling to eliminate the SGR, it does not make sense to allow another rigid formula to be implemented that risks a bigger set of problems for a broader cross-section of Medicare services," Madara wrote, adding that IPAB's budget targets would be prone to projection errors that would force Congress to seek cuts elsewhere in the budget to offset inaccurate calculations.
Madara also wrote that IPAB would have "far too little accountability" and that "major changes in the Medicare program should be decided by elected officials."
The measure was introduced by Rep. Phil Roe, a physician and a GOP legislator from Tennessee. It is scheduled to be considered by the subcommittee (PDF) on Feb. 29.
The creation of the IPAB was called for in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. While the healthcare reform law has been criticized in general by Republicans since its passage, the IPAB is a provision in the legislation that has been the focus of specific attacks.
The 15-member panel will be tasked with identifying Medicare cuts starting in 2014 if growth per enrollee exceeds targets. Its cuts would take effect unless a Congressional majority blocks or finds equivalent cuts elsewhere.
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