TCC Letter In Support of Congressional Vote to Repeal IPAB

Please see the following letter from  the Texas Conservative Coalition thanking members of the Texas congressional delegation for their recent vote to repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), an unelected bureaucracy created through the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act:

June 30, 2015

Dear Congressman:

The Texas Conservative Coalition (TCC) is writing to express our gratitude for your support of H.R. 1190, which would repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) – a central feature of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).  It is now urgent that the U.S. Senate acts.

In 2013, TCC joined hundreds of organizations around the nation in calling for the elimination of the IPAB, one of the worst provisions of the PPACA.

Tasked with the responsibility of recommending cost-saving Medicare reforms to Congress, the 15-member unelected board has the power to implement its recommendations even without Congress’s approval. Former Obama administration official Peter Orszag has publicly stated that IPAB’s authority was deliberately set up as a way to “counter the gridlock of our political institutions by making them a little less democratic.”  Yet, that is precisely the problem.

Former Senator Tom Coburn and Congressman Phil Roe (both physicians), writing late last year in the Wall Street Journal, got to the heart of the matter: “Why is this board dangerous? Because there is nothing “advisory” about its vast powers. IPAB’s mandate is to deliver on one of ObamaCare’s central promises: Medicare cost-containment. The law gives this board sweeping authority to do so, with virtually no constraints.”

Dissatisfaction and distrust of the IPAB is a bipartisan issue outside of the White House, and political figures as diverse ideologically as former Governors Sarah Palin and Howard Dean agree that it should be repealed. Indeed, Howard Dean explained his thoughts on the IPAB in a Wall Street Journal commentary in July 2013:

One major problem is the so-called Independent Payment Advisory Board. The IPAB is essentially a health-care rationing body. By setting doctor reimbursement rates for Medicare and determining which procedures and drugs will be covered and at what price, the IPAB will be able to stop certain treatments its members do not favor by simply setting rates to levels where no doctor or hospital will perform them.

There does have to be control of costs in our health-care system. However, rate setting—the essential mechanism of the IPAB—has a 40-year track record of failure…. getting rid of the IPAB is something Democrats and Republicans ought to agree on.

H.R. 1190 advances of the cause of health care freedom and liberty from an unaccountable bureaucracy.  Thank you for your service, and we will encourage our Senators to take up this cause as well.


Texas Conservative Coalition

Senator John Cornyn’s July 10 response to the above letter follows below: