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David R.
Republican TN 1

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  • Protecting Seniors’ Access to Medicare Act of 2015

    by Representative David P. Roe

    Posted on 2015-06-18

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    ROE of Tennessee. Mr. Speaker, I rise as a proud sponsor of H.R. 1190, the Protecting Seniors' Access to Medicare Act. This bipartisan legislation, which I introduced with my colleague, Linda T. Sanchez, would repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board, or IPAB.



    Created by the Affordable Care Act, this panel of 15 unaccountable, unelected bureaucrats exists to cut Medicare spending to meet arbitrary budgets and have been given enormous powers to do so.

    Listen to this carefully. Peter Orszag, President Obama's former budget director, has noted IPAB represents the single biggest yielding of power to an independent entity since the creation of the Federal Reserve. Let me repeat that: the single biggest yielding of power to an independent entity since the creation of the Federal Reserve.

    Mr. Speaker, we just spent, in a bipartisan way, 3 years working through SGR reform. Seventeen times, we kicked the can down the road so our seniors wouldn't be denied access to care. This bill is basically SGR on steroids. It trumps all the work we just did on SGR reform.

    Any proposal made by IPAB will be considered using expedited procedures, and without a three-fifths vote in the Senate, Congress can only modify the type of cuts proposed, not the amount, so we have to do the amount. If Congress doesn't act on IPAB's recommendation, the cuts will automatically go into effect. To make matters worse, the Board is exempt from administrative or judicial review.

    On the projections between 2020 and 2024, the CBO can't tell me from year to year, within the tens of billions of dollars, what the budget deficit is going to be each year, so I don't put a lot of stock in that.

    If the President does not nominate individuals to serve on the IPAB or if the IPAB fails to recommend cuts when required to do so, the Secretary of Health and Human Services has the power to make the changes unilaterally.

    {time} 1315 One person will make those changes for the entire country. Think about that for a second. One person would have the ability to reshape a program that has 55 million enrollees. Whatever you may think about the President's healthcare law, this just isn't right.

    After practicing medicine for more than 30 years, I can tell you that no two patients are the same and that different approaches are required for different needs. IPAB is blind to that fact and will ration seniors' access to care through a one-size-fits-all payment policy.

    Medicare desperately needs reform to ensure it continues to be there for current beneficiaries and the next generation, but this is not the way. We can do better.

    It is time to go back to the drawing board. I urge my colleagues to support this bill and put medical decisions back where they belong. Mr. Speaker, that is between patients and doctors.

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