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GOP Warns of ObamaCare Rationing Panels

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New American
July 20, 2011

The Obama administration has declared many times that ObamaCare will not institute death panels. Rationing panels may be another story.

President Obama’s healthcare law authorizes an independent panel, the Independent Payment Advisory Board, to control excessive Medicare costs. The Blaze notes, “IPAB has the power to force Medicare cuts if costs go up beyond certain levels and Congress fails to act. Although Medicare’s long-term finances are troubled, it’s unclear if short-run costs will rise enough over the next decade to trigger the board’s intervention.”

Currently, the law explicitly prohibits the IPAB from rationing care, or shifting costs, or limiting benefits, but Republicans have voiced concerns that such a panel may very well turn into a rationing panel.

Minnesota Representative Michele Bachmann told conservative bloggers, for example:

Senior citizens will lose control over what they actually get in Medicare because a politically appointed 15-member board that’s unelected and unresponsive to the will of the people called IPAB will make the decisions about what care we get and what care we don’t.

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Likewise, Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga., pictured above) stated at a GOP Doctors Caucus press conference:

Under this IPAB … a bunch of bureaucrats decide whether or not you get care, such as continuing on dialysis or cancer chemotherapy. I’ll guarantee you, when you withdraw that, the patient is going to die.

The IPAB currently remains in the planning stage and may not be appointed for another couple of years. While health industry lobbying groups, consumer advocates, and Republicans continue to push for a repeal of ObamaCare, the Democrats have put the panel on hold.

The Blaze reports:

But IPAB — an unusual delegation of power by Congress — may exist only on paper for a long while. The administration seems in no rush to set it up.

Just this spring, Obama had proposed beefing up IPAB to squeeze more out of Medicare. But as opposition grew, and prominent House liberals and AARP voiced their own objections, the administration downplayed that idea. In recent testimony before two House committees, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius described IPAB as just a “backstop” and a “failsafe.”

Sebelius asserted, “If Congress is actually paying attention to the bottom line of Medicare, IPAB is irrelevant … and it never triggers in.”

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This article was posted: Wednesday, July 20, 2011 at 3:13 am

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