GOP Health Care Reform Means the Likely Demise of Obamacare’s “Death Panel”

Over the past several months, the mainstream media and Washington elite have perpetuated conspiracy theories and demonstrably false narratives in an effort to distract and stymie the current administration from reforming America’s health care–and the claims are growing ever more outlandish.

In one article, CNN teeth-clinchingly claimed that under the bill formerly known as the American Health Care Act (AHCA), rape and domestic violence could qualify as pre-existing conditions. In another, Salon asserted that women who undergo C-sections could be “monetarily punished” under the bill.

Despite this propaganda campaign, President Trump and a Republican-controlled Congress are working hard behind the scenes to erode the last vestiges of the disastrous Affordable Care Act (ACA), colloquially referred to as Obamacare–including the problematic Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB).

Opposition from both parties has formed against IPAB, a bureaucratic board with the authority to change Medicare policy since its creation through the Affordable Care Act. The board, consisting of fifteen presidentially-appointed members, exists solely to recommend yearly cuts to Medicare costs.

When these “recommendations” are delivered to Congress, the Secretary of Health and Human Services is compelled to enact them–in other words, an unelected body of fifteen, entirely exempt from the political process, has the power to unilaterally create health care policy that will impact millions of people.

Mountains must move for one of these proposals to be blocked, as Congress and the President must not only signal their disagreement but provide a viable replacement as well. It’s little wonder that both Republicans and Democrats agree on IPAB’s demise considering the circumstances.

Although the current iteration of the Republican health care bill currently lacks the votes to pass, Obamacare’s days are clearly numbered. Even if the bill continues to stall, President Trump has pledged to repeal IPAB in his full fiscal year 2018 budget, “A New Foundation For American Greatness.”

While the board’s mission is to cut medical costs, it cannot recommend the rationing of health care. This seems praiseworthy initially, but IPAB is only left with two methods to cut costs–reducing expenditures to insurance providers, or blocking certain treatments altogether.

Effectively, these nefarious elements of IPAB amount to rationing health care, which is why critics of IPAB have labeled it a “death panel.” Over the years, hundreds of organizations have placed their weight behind a full IPAB repeal.  

In a Forbes op-ed comprised by the CEO and a board member of the Physicians Foundation, it was stated, “The IPAB is envisioned to take the place of Congressional oversight by substituting a board of highly paid health professionals that are ‘hoped’ to be objective and non-partisan — a concept that has proven to be quite elusive.”

Although none of IPAB’s provisions have been enacted as of yet, a report developed by Medicare trustees predicts that spending increases will trigger IPAB this year.

“The IPAB is a sleeping giant that when awakened, will have massive power to determine the direction of physician services, until it is reaffirmed or unless it is repealed by a new political dynamic,” the op-ed assessed.

One way or another, the time to repeal IPAB once and for all for the good of the American people is right now.

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