GOP Plan To Repeal Cost Savings Board Would Add Billions To The Deficit, Increase Medicare Spending

President Obama signs the Affordable Care Act into law.

House Republicans, the loudest proponents of deficit reduction, are pursuing a measure that would greatly increase the deficit: repealing the Affordable Care Act’s Independent Payment Advisory Board. The 15-member cost-cutting commission is tasked with making binding recommendations to Congress for lowering health care spending if costs increase beyond a certain point. But House Republicans claim that IPAB will “ration” care to seniors and have advanced legislation to eliminate it.

Today’s score of that bill from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) finds that repealing the board would increase the national deficit by $3.1 billion” and grow health care expenditures:

CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 452 would not have any budgetary impact in 2012 but would increase direct spending by $3.1 billion over the 2013-2022 period. That estimate is extremely uncertain because it is not clear whether the mechanism for spending reductions under the IPAB authority will be triggered under current law over the next 10 years. However, it is possible that such authority would be triggered in one or more of those years; thus, repealing the IPAB provision of the ACA could result in higher spending for the Medicare program than would occur under current law.

So far, the House Ways and Means and the Energy and Commerce Committees have voted to repeal the board and House GOP leadership hopes to vote on it by late March. In a statement after the Ways and Means Committee approved the bill, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) argued repeal would protect seniors from “waiting lists.”

But many of those in Congress who want to get rid of IPAB now have previously supported an IPAB-on-steroids plan. And the panel would not cut payments for seniors’ Medicare benefits, but would rather encourage providers to adopt best practices and offer care more efficiently.

So despite all the fear-mongering about limiting health care for seniors, repealing IPAB would wildly increase the deficit and health spending — the opposite of what the GOP claims.