The PJ Tatler

Two Democrats break with Obama admin on Medicare board

Over at The Hill:

Two House Democrats have signed onto a Republican bill to repeal a health reform provision that the Obama administration has touted as a central tool to keep health costs under control.

Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-Nev.) became a co-sponsor of legislation to repeal the Medicare payment board on Wednesday, one week after Rep. Michael Capuano (D-Mass.). A spokesman for the congresswoman said she remains committed to the law’s cost-cutting goals but wants Congress to be in charge. …

The Independent Payment Advisory Board fast-tracks cuts to Medicare payments when spending reaches a pre-determined target. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that it would save $28 billion through 2019.

Peter Orzsag, the president’s previous budget chief, has called the board one of the law’s most important provisions for keeping Medicare sustainable.

But congressional Democrats have been under tremendous pressure from doctors and hospitals to try to nix an unelected board that directly threatens their bottom line.