House Votes to Repeal Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), Obamacare’s “Death Panels”

National   Steven Ertelt   Nov 2, 2017   |   6:01PM    Washington, DC

The U.S. House of Representatives voted today to repeal a portion of the Obamacare law that pro-life advocates strongly opposed because it could lead to rationing of health care for patients across the nation.

Leading pro-life groups asked members of Congress to approve legislation that would repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board, which has been derisively called “death panels” by detractors. Today, the House did just that.

Some 307 members of the U.S. House of Representatives voted for H.R. 849, the Protecting Seniors’ Access to Medicare Act of 2017, to repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB).

National Right to Life was one of the pro-life groups seeking the vote and it criticized the 111 House members who voted against the bill.

Carol Tobias, National Right to Life president, said “Pro-lifers have long opposed IPAB due to concerns that it could reduce access to healthcare. The time to repeal this dangerous rationing board is now.”

Tobias told LifeNews the IPAB is composed of 15 unelected bureaucrats who are answerable to no one. The Board is directed to recommend measures to limit private, nongovernmental spending on health care to a growth rate below medical inflation. Although most news reports have focused on the Board’s authority to limit government spending in Medicare, little attention has been given to this more sweeping danger of rationing healthcare paid for with nongovernmental dollars.

According to Jennifer Popik, J.D., National Right to Life director of federal legislation, “IPAB’s powers go well beyond some benign effort to control Medicare spending. IPAB would recommend drastic limits for the Department of Health and Human Services to impose even on what Americans are allowed to spend out of their own funds to save their own lives and the lives of their families.”

National Right to Life is calling on the U.S. Senate to take action to advance this legislation.

“The mission of National Right to Life is to protect and defend the most fundamental right, the right to life of every innocent human being from the beginning of life to natural death. In that defense, we strongly urge you to repeal the so-called Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB),” NRLC wrote House members in a letter before the vote.

“The IPAB is composed of 15 unelected bureaucrats who are answerable to no one. The Board is directed to recommend measures to limit private, nongovernmental spending on health care to a growth rate below medical inflation. Although most news reports have focused on the Board’s authority to limit government spending in Medicare, little attention has been given to this more sweeping danger of rationing healthcare paid for with nongovernmental dollars,” it said.

The letter continues: “IPAB’s powers go well beyond some benign effort to control Medicare spending. IPAB would recommend drastic limits for the Department of Health and Human Services to impose on what Americans are allowed to spend out of their own funds to save their own lives and the lives of their families. More can be found at: www.nrlc.org/uploads/communications/healthcarereport2014.pdf

National Right to Life “urges every Member of Congress to recognize the importance of repealing the Independent Payment Advisory Board. We urge you to support H.R. 849 to repeal this assault on our health care system and the sanctity of life and to reject the dangerous consolidation of unchecked government power which IPAB represents.”

Concerned Women for America president Penny Nance talked about the problems with the IPAB and why it needs to be repealed.

Click here to sign up for pro-life news alerts from LifeNews.com

“ObamaCare was signed into law in 2010, and its ramifications are astronomical, with IPAB being one of the most contentious portions of the health care law. Although the reasoning behind IPAB was to keep Medicare spending down, the facts show that it will ignore the essential problems associated with Medicare and lower costs by rationing treatment to seniors,” she said. “As a result, unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats will decide what treatments our elderly parents receive. No longer will we be able to make decisions in conjunction with medical professionals about our parents’ needs; these decisions will be decided by reimbursement rates set by an inauspicious board. CWA views this as a small victory on the long road to stopping this egregious health care law that tramples economic freedom and religious liberties. We will continue to shed light on the wrongheaded health care law until it is fully dismantled.”

Pro-life NRLC attorney Jennifer Popik talked previously about the pro-life rationale for ending the program.

“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,” she says. “While the focus throughout this debate has been on the IPAB’s  authority to cut Medicare with very limited Congressional authority to override or alter those cuts, National Right to Life has been emphasizing a still graver concern – one at the core of rationing in ObamaCare.”

“The health care law instructs the IPAB to make recommendations to limit what all Americans are legally allowed to spend for their health care to hold it below the rate of medical inflation.  The health care law then empowers the federal Department of Health and Human Services to implement these recommendations by imposing so-called “quality” and “efficiency” measures on health care providers,” Popik continues. “What happens to doctors who violate a “quality” standard by prescribing more lifesaving medical treatment than it permits? They will be disqualified from contracting with any of the health insurance plans that individual Americans, under the Obama Health Care Law, will be mandated to purchase.  Few doctors would be able to remain in practice if subjected to that penalty.”

“This means that treatment a doctor and patient deem advisable to save that patient’s life or preserve or improve the patient’s health–but which exceeds the standard imposed by the government–will be denied even if the patient is willing and able to pay for it. Repeal of IPAB is critically important to prevent this rationing of life-saving medical treatment,” she added.