AAOS November 14, 2017
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House Votes to Repeal IPAB

Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 849, the Protecting Seniors’ Access to Medicare Act, by a vote of 307-111. The American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) commends members of the House for passing this important legislation (introduced by Reps. Phil Roe, M.D. (R-TN) and Raul Ruiz, M.D. (D-CA)), which would eliminate sections 3403 and 10320 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) before it is activated. This board – charged with making recommendations to cut Medicare expenditures if spending growth reaches a certain level – threatens the ability of elected representatives in Congress to ensure seniors have access to the health care they need when they need it. The bill now moves to the Senate and AAOS urges quick action on the legislation.

“I am thrilled the House passed my bipartisan legislation, and I thank my colleagues for supporting the repeal,” said Dr. Roe. “The IPAB has been given sweeping powers to change Medicare with little recourse to change direction. Today, a strong bipartisan majority agreed that health care decisions should be left to doctors and patients, not unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats. After practicing medicine for more than 30 years, I can tell you that no two patients are the same; different patient needs and preferences require personalized care. The IPAB doesn’t take this into consideration, and could possibly harm seniors’ access to care by utilizing a one-size-fits-all approach to cut Medicare spending. I urge my Senate colleagues to take up and support this important bill.”

“The Independent Payment Advisory Board was a well-intentioned, but misguided piece of the Affordable Care Act that would have put an unaccountable and unelected panel in charge of making sweeping changes to Medicare spending. What’s more, if the board failed to act, the HHS Secretary would have the sole power to make those cuts. Our constituents should be able to hold accountable anyone who can make cuts to Medicare, regardless of their party,” said Dr. Ruiz. “I am proud to have worked across the aisle with Representative Phil Roe on this commonsense, bipartisan change to the ACA. I am pleased this bill passed the House today and I urge swift consideration in the Senate. We must come together to protect and strengthen Medicare for our nation’s seniors,” Ruiz added.

AAOS has long advocated for the repeal of the board, noting that it is deeply concerned about the specific impact that IPAB-directed cuts would have on patient access to quality musculoskeletal care. “Such a policy limits congressional authority with little accountability and precludes meaningful opportunity for stakeholder input,” AAOS argued. “Further, requiring the IPAB to achieve savings in one-year increments is simply not conducive to generating savings through long-term delivery reforms.”

Read more about AAOS efforts on IPAB here.