Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Members of Congress to Supreme Court: Strike 'death panel'

Dozens of members of Congress on Thursday joined in a court brief asking the U.S. Supreme Court to take up a challenge to Obamacare’s Independent Payment Advisory Board, the assembly of appointed individuals described by some critics as a “death panel” for its power to impose its will on doctors, hospitals and patients.
The friend-of-the-court brief was filed in support of a case brought against Obamacare by the Goldwater Institute.
The petition focuses on the requirement to buy insurance and the authority that will be vested in IPAB, which was set up to be unanswerable to Congress and unaccountable to the federal courts.
The Obamacare component was described as a way to control Medicare costs, with the authority to approve or disapprove payments for services and set the level of payment.
And that’s dangerous, according to members of the congressional delegation.
“We already know what will happen with IPAB. We had experience with something similar in my home state of Tennessee with TNCARE. As reimbursement rates are cut to doctors, access was reduced for the needy. I fear for Medicare recipients,” said Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn., a doctor.
Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., a dentist, said, “OPAB puts government between me and my patients.”
In a commentary published in the Wall Street Journal on behalf of the effort, Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., and Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn., both doctors, warned IPAB is a patient’s nightmare and bad for doctors.
“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,” they wrote. “The statute says IPAB can take any and all actions necessary to control Medicare costs. Although it is prohibited from ‘rationing,’ that term is nowhere defined in the Affordable Care Act. Hence IPAB can control costs by lowering physician reimbursements – thus driving more doctors away from treating Medicare patients – or by reducing the services eligible for reimbursement. In other words, by rationing care.”
The rationing of care is why, critics say, the institution is being called a “death panel.” Members would only need to lower physician reimbursement for a particular life-saving procedure to an impossible level, and doctors would be unable to provide the service, resulting in the deaths of those who might have benefited.
Read the rest of the story HERE.

If you like what you see, please "Like" us on Facebook either here or here. Please follow us on Twitter here.

No comments: