Greg Sargent notices that despite the GOP’s best efforts to malign the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) as a health care-rationing, grandma-killing, Big Government takeover, a new Kaiser Family Foundation poll finds that Americans have more trust in “an Independent panel of full-time experts appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate” proposing ways to reduce Medicare spending than Congress or a federal agency:
The problem, as the public knows, is that politicians spend too much time soliciting contributions from medical providers to ever pursue an even handed approach to reducing their reimbursement rates. And one need to look no further than the GOP’s latest round of health care additions to the Korean trade agreement to see why elected officials are just no good at controlling health care costs.
Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID), who has received $131,900 from hospitals/nursing homes and $152,050 from Health care professionals in 2010 (both represent his top 10 contributors), has proposed amendments to make “adequate” payment updates to ambulatory surgery centers and prevent CMS from cutting physician payments when developing rates for Medicare Advantage. Similarly, Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) took in $140,100 from the industry before offering an amendment to exempt Critical Access Hospitals from consideration by IPAB for payment reduction through 2018.
This isn’t to say that there was some specific quid pro quo attached to the dollars, but I imagine that it’s a lot easier to make cuts on the benefits side of the program when you spend a lot of time with providers and they in turn contribute to your campaigns.