House Republicans are pushing to repeal the Affordable Care Act’s Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), which is tasked with making binding recommendations to Congress for lowering health care spending. But estimates from the Congressional Budget Office found that the GOP repeal plan would add $3 billion to the deficit, and now Democrats who supported it are revoking their support for a new Republican plan to pay for repealing IPAB with a medical malpractice reform measure.
“Unfortunately, Republican leadership is manipulating the dialogue on this issue for political purposes, which will undoubtedly lead many Democratic members to vote against the bill — despite support for the underlying policy from House Democrats across the ideological spectrum,” Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-PA), the most outspoken Democratic opponent of Obama’s Medicare panel, told TPM. “By unnecessarily tying repeal of IPAB to a partisan malpractice bill, House Republicans have effectively ensured that this bill is dead. This is deeply disappointing.”
Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), another signatory of IPAB repeal, told TPM the GOP lost his vote with the tort reform pay-for — and predicted other Dems will bolt, too. “It’s typical of their irresponsible approach,” Frank said in an interview Monday. “They have a lot of Democratic support to repeal [IPAB] and they know it. They were dangerously close to having some bipartisanship and they couldn’t accept that.” [...]
House GOP leaders have opted to fund the $3.1 billion cost to repeal IPAB with medical malpractice reform legislation, which is a poison pill for most Democrats and even some key Republicans. It’s an indication that the GOP has given up on getting a bill to Obama’s desk, where he’d probably veto it anyway.
Republicans have attacked the board as health care rationing, but the panel’s recommendations cannot “include any recommendation to ration health care, raise revenues or Medicare beneficiary premiums…increase Medicare beneficiary cost- sharing (including deductibles, coinsurance, and co- payments), or otherwise restrict benefits or modify eligibility criteria.” The Senate-confirmed members will only make recommendations to cut Medicare payments to providers — not endangering seniors’ health care — no matter how much Republicans try to scare seniors into thinking otherwise.