House Passes Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) Repeal

This evening, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 1190, the Protecting Seniors’ Access to Medicare Act, by a vote of 244 to 154 with 37 not voting. H.R. 1190 repeals IPAB and is a key ASCRS•ASOA policy priority.

As we have reported, IPAB was created as part of the Affordable Care Act and is a board made up of 15 unelected, unaccountable members appointed by the President charged with making recommendations to Congress on how to lower costs to the Medicare program and Medicare physician payment policies. When Medicare growth exceeds the given target, IPAB must propose actions to reduce Medicare spending without causing a reduction in patient benefits. This effectively means IPAB’s focus will be on reductions to physician reimbursements. The IPAB would cause myriad problems, ranging from deficiencies in patient care to lower provider reimbursement rates. While no members of IPAB have been appointed and Medicare spending has not grown at a rate to trigger IPAB action—and has actually decreased—IPAB could pose a threat in the future if conditions change.

IPAB repeal has garnered significant bipartisan support in previous Congresses, and H.R. 1190 was sponsored by Rep. Phil Roe, MD (R-TN) and Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-CA). The bill also had 235 bipartisan co-sponsors. H.R. 1190 failed to attract as much Democratic support for the floor vote, however, due to an amendment to pay for the cost of the repeal by reducing funding for the Preventative and Public Health Fund. Rep. Sanchez stated she could not support the bill with that cost off-set, but was still in favor of repealing IPAB.

The White House has issued a veto threat for H.R. 1190. No action has been taken on the Senate version of the bill, S. 141. We will keep you updated.