This week, the House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee held a hearing on the controversial Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), and two committees overwhelmingly approved the Medicare Decisions Accountability Act (H.R. 452). In addition, TSCL saw support grow for key legislation this week.
IPAB Repeal Bill Advances
Legislation to repeal the controversial IPAB is slowly making its way to the House floor. This week, two key committees – the Ways and Means Committee and the Energy and Commerce Committee – overwhelmingly voted in favor of the Medicare Decisions Accountability Act (H.R. 452), which would repeal the 15-member advisory board that was created under the 2010 health care law.
Members of Congress have been apprehensive about IPAB since its inception. Those on the Ways and Means Health Subcommittee were able to question a panel of experts about their most crucial concerns on Tuesday. At the top of the list was the worry that the IPAB might drive a wedge between seniors and their doctors. Other common concerns were: that IPAB will usurp Congressional authority, that its rulings will not be subject to judicial review, and the board will simply lead to rationing of care.
Though in the minority, some committee members did speak out against the IPAB repeal bill. Rep. Doris Matsui (CA-5) referred to the board as a failsafe at a Tuesday Energy and Commerce Committee markup, saying, “This repeal effort offers no alternative to account for the cost control measures that IPAB, while not perfect, is designed to implement.” According to the CBO, the Medicare Decisions Accountability Act would add $3.1 billion to the deficit over ten years – an amount that some believe should be offset.
The repeal bill, which currently has a bipartisan mix of 234 cosponsors, must be approved by the Rules Committee before it moves to the House floor. According to Majority Leader Eric Cantor (VA-7), however, it could receive floor consideration as early as March 19. TSCL will keep a close eye on the movement of this bill.
Support Grows for Key Bills
This week, TSCL saw support grow for Rep. Dana Rohrabacher’s (CA-46) No Social Security for Illegal Immigrants Act (H.R. 787). One new cosponsor – Rep. Reid Ribble (WI-8) – signed on to the bill this week, bringing the total up to 70.
If signed into law, this bill would prevent Social Security credits from being earned by illegal workers. To protect the Social Security trust fund from further threats to insolvency, TSCL supports Rep. Rohrabacher’s No Social Security for Illegal Immigrants Act. TSCL was pleased to see support grow for it this week.
TSLC also saw support grow for the Social Security Fairness Act (H.R. 1332 and S. 2010), introduced by Rep. Buck McKeon (CA-25) in the House, and Sen. John Kerry (MA) in the Senate. Reps. Rush Holt (NJ-12), Bobby Rush (IL-1), Rob Bishop (UT-1), Adam Kinzinger (IL-11), and Sen. Mark Begich (AK) all pledged their support for the bills this week. The cosponsor totals are up to 158 and 10, respectively.