A Democratic senator in an interview today said the Independent Payment Advisory Board — which has come under criticism from pro-life groups and conservatives for its potential to ration health care via “death panels” — should be revisited. Even Democrats like Howard Dean have admitted death panels, or rationing, are included.
The Independent Payment Advisory Board is set to go into action later this year. The IPAB is a Medicare cost-cutting board of “experts” legally possessing the power to impose its advise, even over the desires of Congress or the president.
It has been derisively referred to as a death panel because so many have called for it to have health care rationing powers and because its decisions could result in cost-cutting measures that deny lifesaving medical treatment. The Independent Payment Advisory Board was one of the most controversial parts of the Obamacare legislation — mainly because it puts 15 unelected strangers in charge of health decisions for most Americans.
In the name of “cost-certainty,” IPAB would have the authority to limit which specialists you see, what treatments are available, and in some cases, whether you’re eligible for care at all.
Now, Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), is expressing concerns over them and said as much during a call-in session on C-SPAN Wednesday morning, according to the Washington Free Beacon newspaper. Here’s what it reported him saying:
CALLER: I want to know if Cardin read the bill, and if he could explain about the advisory board which is going to be established in 2014. The board can effectively edict certain mandates to the law and changes to the law without congressional action or approval and they cannot be challenged judicially by the constituents or the citizens of this country. In other words, they are going to be able to pass a law without authority, making congress irrelevant, which seems to be a blatant violation of our constitution. How could anybody with a clear conscience vote for that?
BEN CARDIN: I did read the bill and I share some of your concerns about that provision in the bill. The Affordable Care Act contains many provisions. I strongly supported the bill itself. But in terms of that particular provision, I agree, there are certain concerns that I have. The purpose of the board is to make sure that health care costs are maintained at a reasonable level and that there is an objective review of the payments made under the healthcare system. That was the main purpose of this board in its report. It comes into effect under certain circumstances. It has not been implemented yet, but it is a provision in the law that needs to be revisited to make sure the concerns you expressed do not occur.
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Integral to the Obama Administration’s stated mission to drive down what Americans choose to spend for life-saving and health-preserving health care, the IPAB is charged with a key role in suppressing health care spending by limiting what treatment doctors are allowed to give their patients.