In lieu of offering an actual budget to reduce deficit spending, President Obama has now given a speech saying that we should reduce deficits by raising taxes, cutting defense, and “strengthening” Obamacare’s Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB). But rather than signing on to Obama’s stated desire to give the IPAB even more power, some congressional Democrats are instead calling for that body’s outright repeal.
Democratic representative Allyson Schwartz (Pa.) has released a letter “strongly” urging her colleagues to support legislation to repeal the IPAB. Drawing attention to the constitutionally dubious nature of delegating quasi-legislative power to a largely unchecked body of 15 bureaucrats, Rep. Schwartz writes, “Congress is a representative body and must assume responsibility for legislating sound health care policy for Medicare beneficiaries, including those policies related to payment systems.”
“Abdicating this responsibility,” she continues, “would undermine our ability to represent the needs of the seniors and disabled in our communities.” She adds, “I cannot condone the implementation of a flawed policy that will risk beneficiary access to care.”
Schwartz is not the first Democrat to sign on to the repeal of the IBAP. Representatives Shelley Berkley (D., Nev.), Michael Capuano (D., Mass.), and Larry Kissell (D., N.C.) have all done so previously. But The Hill writes that “her timing and prominence — Schwartz is a healthcare reform champion and vice chairwoman of the New Democrat Coalition — makes hers the most prominent Democratic defection so far.”
Mark Hemingway has recently written more about this particularly egregious aspect of Obamacare, noting that “the more the public finds out about IPAB, the more unpopular the President's plan to reduce Medicare spending is likely to become.”