This scenario would render IPAB harmless indeed. If only ObamaCare’s authors didn’t account for this likely scenario. Unfortunately for seniors, they did---allowing radical Secretary of Health and Human Services to step in and issue equally binding recommendations.
You better believe we are living in the Age of the Bureaucrat. So what kind of recommendations should we expect from these unelected bureaucrats?
ObamaCare didn’t allocate IPAB with many tools in their toolset. As James Capretta at the Ethics and Public Center has astutely pointed out, they aren’t allowed to recommend patient cost-sharing for Medicare benefits or any other fundamental change to the entitlement. The only option members have is to cut reimbursement rates to providers.
Liberals such as prominent lawyer Timothy Jost have oddly argued that this doesn’t constitute rationing. I challenge them to tell that with a straight face to the Medicare enrollees that will be denied treatment because the program pays the provider insufficiently.
On average, Medicare only pays hospitals 71% and doctors 81% of private sector rates, often times below the cost of care. As a result, around 30% of doctors refuse to see the program’s enrollees entirely. Medicaid reimbursement rates are even lower, creating an even uglier disaster.
The tragedy of ObamaCare is that it mandates IPAB to institute further reimbursement cuts and thus guarantees higher denial rates. While government might not have specifically banned reimbursement for a treatment, the result is the same: denial of life-saving care.
IPAB’s heavy-handed role in this sad affair makes it, without question, the real ObamaCare death panel.
Considering the insolvency of Medicare and the budget-busting nature of Medicaid, the desire for cuts is expected. What’s reprehensible is the immoral, tyrannical manner of ObamaCare’s means to this end.
Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be this way. Congressman Paul Ryan has proposed transforming the Medicare into a voucher program that would empower seniors to control their own health care decisions. Sadly such a freedom-enhancing, consumer-driven proposal has little chance of being instituted while know-it-all statists still control the Presidency and Senate.
In the meantime, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives should make it a top priority to withhold the funding necessary to implement the Independent Payment Adviosry Board. Without this funding, it literally can’t exist and can’t impose any damage.
One more detail that should rev-up the de-funding juices---the 15 IPAB members will be paid $165,300 per year, almost three times the average household income of taxpayers paying for their rationing-services.