IPAB has been granted “unprecedented powers” to take actions that are not subject to any check, balance or judicial review, the AMA said in the statement.
Former President Barack Obama and President Donald Trump never appointed anyone to IPAB and neither has the House or the Senate. In the absence of recommendations from IPAB, its powers would be transferred to the Health and Human Services secretary—a scenario the AMA and more than 650 other health care organizations, which sent the letter to Congress, also find troubling.
“This places an enormous degree of power in the hands of one unelected individual,” the letter states.
Bipartisan support for repeal
Senate Majority Whip Jon Cornyn, R-Texas, has introduced an IPAB repeal measure, as has Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon. In the House, a bipartisan bill has been championed by two physicians, Rep. Phil Roe, MD, R-Texas, and Rep. Raul Ruiz, MD, D-California.
Congress has until Aug. 15 to take advantage of a provision in the ACA to fast-track abolishing the IPAB, and the AMA is encouraging it to do so. If Congress does not act by the deadline, they can still repeal IPAB, but it will get more expensive.
“Congress has already recognized the threat that IPAB poses to Medicare, and there remains an overwhelming bipartisan, bicameral support in Congress and among major stakeholders to repeal IPAB,” the AMA says in its statement. “And, with projections indicating a growing cost to repeal IPAB in the future, the time to act is now.”
The CMS actuary report was issued July 13 and determined that IPAB action was not needed this year. The average per capita spending growth was calculated to be 2.14 percent, which fell below the targeted rate of 2.87 percent (this is the average between the 1.84 percent overall growth rate in the Consumer Prices Index for All Urban Consumers and the 3.91 percent growth rate in the CPI’s medical care expenditure category).
Starting next year, a new formula will be used to trigger IPAB action. For 2018 and beyond, the IPAB will be activated if Medicare spending growth exceeds the estimated Gross Domestic Product plus 1 percent.