In a new Wall Street Journal op-ed, former Democrat presidential candidate Howard Dean rips the Obamacare Independent Payment Advisory Board, and essentially admits that Sarah Palin was right about it.
One major problem is the so-called Independent Payment Advisory Board. The IPAB is essentially a health-care rationing body. By setting doctor reimbursement rates for Medicare and determining which procedures and drugs will be covered and at what price, the IPAB will be able to stop certain treatments its members do not favor by simply setting rates to levels where no doctor or hospital will perform them.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has indicated that the IPAB, in its current form, won’t save a single dime before 2021. As everyone in Washington knows, but less frequently admits, CBO projections of any kind—past five years or so—are really just speculation. I believe the IPAB will never control costs based on the long record of previous attempts in many of the states, including my own state of Vermont.
HoDean calls on Congress to rip IPAB out of Obamacare.
To date, 22 Democrats have joined Republicans in the House and Senate in support of legislation to do away with the IPAB. Yet because of the extraordinary partisanship on Capitol Hill and Republican threats to defund the law through the appropriations process, it is unlikely that any change in the Affordable Care Act will take place soon.
The IPAB will cause frustration to providers and patients alike, and it will fail to control costs. When, and if, the atmosphere on Capitol Hill improves and leadership becomes interested again in addressing real problems instead of posturing, getting rid of the IPAB is something Democrats and Republicans ought to agree on.
Getting rid of the entire law is a better idea. Since the Democrats won’t countenance that, defunding it may be the only option to stop it. The Karl Rove call to just let it collapse on its own weight may end up being the fastest track available to destroying the private insurance industry and giving rise to a government-run health care system.