During an appearance in Cedar Rapids, Iowa this afternoon, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) claimed that the Affordable Care Act would “essentially collapse” Medicare and move seniors into “Obamacare.” She reiterated her false claims that Obama “stole” $500 billion from the program and even argued that the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) — a 15-member cost-cutting commission established by the law — would ration care to Iowans:
BACHMANN: In this Obamacare legislation, the president steals over $500 billion out of Medicare and he pushes it over into Obamacare…. So what the president is planning is to have Medicare essentially collapse and people will move into Obamacare. But that’s not such a good deal, is it? Because we understand there is a brand new board he put in called IPAB — 15 political appointees and they’ll be making the decisions about whether you get your health insurance or not or whether you get your health care or not. They may say you have health insurance — but the question is, will you have access to what you need for your health care?
In reality, the health law extends the life of Medicare trust fund by nine years and the Medicare Trustees estimate growth, not collapse, as close to 64 million Americans will be enrolled in the program by 2020, up from 47 million today. And what about those $500 billion in cuts Bachmann keeps referring to? The law does not reduce the current Medicare budget; it slows the growth in the program by removing $500 billion from future spending over the next 10 years. The cuts will help stabilize Medicare by eliminating overpayments and slowly phasing in payment adjustments that encourage greater efficiency. As a result, the CBO estimates that “growth in spending will be restrained by reductions in updates to payment rates that were included in the 2010 health care legislation.”
The IPAB board is also not nearly as onerous. It’s tasked with making binding recommendations to Congress for lowering health care spending if costs increase beyond a certain point, but it is statutorily prohibited from rationing benefits or increasing co-pays.