The Honorable Joseph R. "Joe" Pitts Chairman,
Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health
2125 Rayburn House Office Building
RetireSafe, an almost 400,000-supporter-strong nationwide advocate for older Americans, is pleased that the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health is holding a hearing to discuss the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), and wishes to submit a statement for the record at that hearing.
The facts are well documented on the process used by the majority party to insert the IPAB, at the eleventh hour, without debate or review, into the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. It is also well documented on how this board circumvents the legislative process and the powers outlined in the Constitution by granting unprecedented powers to an unelected entity. We find this abdication to unelected bureaucrats reprehensible and consider the only true remedy to be repeal of this portion of the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare. Thus RetireSafe wholeheartedly supports HR 452 to accomplish that very thing.
We think it is also important that the Health Subcommittee consider the short-sighted nature of the IPAB and the impact it will have on both the quality and availability of care for older Americans. The methods available to the IPAB for cutting costs work against all the long-term solutions of competition, making the patient the customer, encouraging prevention and wellness, encouraging the discovery of new cures, and reducing the practice of defensive health care. It instead uses a meat axe approach to cost control which will serve only to reduce access and quality to solve near term cost problems. As drug, device, and provider costs are cut through IPAB edicts, the odds will be even more against the use of quality home health care, and the development of cures for Diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and other age related illnesses. Both factors will fill hospitals and other institutions with seniors desperately in need of care. Medicare Part A will go broke even sooner, and Medicaid will face an avalanche of institutionalized seniors, all due to IPAB bureaucrats.
Medicare is a promise the government made to older Americans decades ago. As working citizens these same people paid month after month, year after year into a system on the belief that they would receive quality health care when they got older. Using a backroom created board of unelected bureaucrats to ration care is not what they were promised. There are ways to begin solving the fraud, abuse and inefficiencies in Medicare; the IPAB is not one of them.