New House Rules Aim To Block IPAB's Medicare Recommendations

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On Thursday, the House voted 228-196 to adopt a package of rules (H. Res. 5) put forth by the GOP for the 113th Congress, which includes a measure stating that the House will not have to follow through on any Medicare cost-cutting recommendations by the Independent Payment Advisory Board created under the Affordable Care Act, The Hill's "Healthwatch" reports (Baker, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 1/3).

About IPAB

Under the ACA, IPAB can suggest lowering payment rates for treatments and medications, which would take effect unless Congress develops an equivalent alternative.

However, it is prohibited from recommending specific changes to Medicare as strategies to control costs. In addition, IPAB cannot ration care, raise taxes, revise Medicare benefits or eligibility, or increase beneficiaries' premiums and cost-sharing requirement (California Healthline, 10/24/12).

About the Resolution

The House resolution states that the ACA's requirements "will not apply in the One Hundred Thirteenth Congress," and signals that Republicans are unlikely to consider the panel's cost-control strategies and will resist Medicare spending cuts, "Healthwatch" reports.

The rules package could be subject to a court challenge because it seeks to override a law that Congress passed, according to "Healthwatch." However, if there is no court intervention, the House likely will be allowed to proceed under the rules ("Healthwatch," The Hill, 1/3).


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