House Ways and Means Committee Approves IPAB Repeal Measure
On Thursday, the House Ways and Means Committee approved legislation (HR 452) that would repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board, which was created under the federal health reform law to rein in Medicare spending, The Hill's "Healthwatch" reports.
Panel members approved the bill by voice vote just two days after the House Energy and Commerce Committee voted in favor of the legislation (Baker, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 3/8).
The House bill has bipartisan support, with 19 Democratic co-sponsors. In addition, some key Democrats -- including Reps. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) and Pete Stark (D-Calif.) -- support repealing IPAB. According to Kaiser Health News' "Capsules," Pallone and Stark support the health reform law but they disagree with giving the panel power that they believe should be held by Congress (Carey, "Capsules," Kaiser Health News, 3/8).
However, most Democrats see the bill as part of the GOP strategy to take apart the health reform law. Ways and Means Committee member Sander Levin (D-Mich.) said, "We all know that Republicans have endeavored to repeal the Affordable Care Act in its entirety," adding, "Having failed at that, Republicans have attempted to go after the law in a piecemeal fashion."
The bill could reach the House floor as early as the week of March 19, according to a spokesperson for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) (Khatami, CQ Today, 3/8).
CBO Estimates IPAB Repeal Would Cost $3.1B
According to "Healthwatch," CBO's estimate could be used as lobbying fodder by Democrats who oppose repealing IPAB. However, supporters of a repeal could counter that the health reform law estimated that IPAB would reduce spending by $15 billion (Pecquet/Baker, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 3/8).
House IPAB Repeal Likely To Include Offset
The House eventually is expected to include an offset in the IPAB repeal bill, CQ Today reports.
The bill's sponsor, Rep. Phil Roe (R-Tenn.), said on Thursday that although he did not see the cost of the legislation as a "major problem" for passage, he believed that an offset was likely.
House Rules Committee spokesperson Doug Andres also said that he expects the legislation to include an offset, but he was unsure from where the funds would come. A spokesperson for Cantor said that lawmakers currently are discussing the issue.
A Senate IPAB repeal bill (S 2118) introduced by Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) includes an offset (Attias, CQ Today, 3/8).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.