“Supporters point to the fact that IPAB is not permitted to ‘ration' care,” Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Pa.), chairman of the Health Subcommittee, said in remarks before his panel considered the bill. “A definition of ‘rationing,' however, does not appear in any federal law, including PPACA, to my knowledge. For example, is it rationing if IPAB slashes provider reimbursements to the point that doctors decide they can no longer see Medicare patients? That's already happening in many parts of the country.”
But Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), a member of the subcommittee, said it is Medicare's flawed physician payment system, not IPAB, that will cause access problems. Waxman said that while the bill might pass through the committee and the full House, it will not pass in the Senate. Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-Pa.), a strong supporter of a long-term fix to Medicare's sustainable growth-rate formula, is a co-sponsor on Roe's bill.
The House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee will have a hearing to examine IPAB next week. Following the subcommittee vote, Pitts said he did not know for sure when the bill would make it to the full House floor, but that “I'd expect by the end of March.”