Get in the Game: More Cosponsors Needed on IPAB Repeal Legislation in House and Senate

Thank you to all the ASCRS and ASOA members who have used the ASCRS•ASOA Action Alert Center to ask your members of Congress to support legislation to repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB). Your efforts have made a difference! However, we are still short of our goal of 60 cosponsors in the Senate and 216 in the House by mid-June.

The release of the Medicare Trustees report should occur any day, and the report is expected to indicate that IPAB will be triggered. Therefore, we need Congress to hear loud and clear that IPAB will lead to billions of dollars in Medicare cuts and reduce healthcare access for beneficiaries.  Now is the time to repeal IPAB and ensure healthcare decisions are made by seniors and their doctors.

We need 68 more cosponsors in the House to support H.R. 849, the Protecting Seniors' Access to Medicare Act of 2017 and H.J. Res 51.  Both stop IPAB but in different ways. In the Senate, we need 12 more cosponsors. Please ask Democrats to support S. 251, Protecting Medicare from Executive Action Act of 2017, and S.J. Res 16.  Please ask Republicans to support S. 260, Protecting Seniors' Access to Medicare Act of 2017, and S.J. Res.17. If you haven’t already done so, please use the ASCRS•ASOA Grassroots Action Center to send instant messages to your elected officials in support of this important legislation.

As we have reported, IPAB is a provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that comprises 15 unelected, unaccountable members appointed by the President and that is required to make recommendations to Congress on how to lower costs to the Medicare program and Medicare physician payment policies. When Medicare growth exceeds the given target, the IPAB must develop a proposal to reduce Medicare spending without causing a reduction in patient benefits. This effectively means IPAB’s focus will be on reductions to physician reimbursements. While IPAB is expected to go into effect in 2017, no members have been named to the board. In the event there are no IPAB members to recommend Medicare cuts, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Tom Price, MD, is empowered to recommend the spending cuts, which would automatically go into effect unless overridden by a supermajority vote in Congress. This means the current administration could use IPAB to push through its policy priorities, including President Trump’s campaign promise to control drug pricing.

Last year, Medicare trustees predicted that IPAB would be triggered in 2017. As we have reported, the legislation to repeal IPAB has bipartisan support in the House and Senate. We will keep you updated.