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In response to the Oct. 7 letter "The Death Panels Lie": The sole purpose of the Independent Payment Advisory Board in Obamacare is to reduce Medicare spending in years that the projected growth rate exceeds the targeted amount.
Sounds like a good idea, right?
The reality is that the IPAB places a great deal of authority in an insulated, unelected board that will make decisions at the expense of Medicare recipients who have no opportunity to appeal the panel's decisions.
IPAB also will have the ability to reduce reimbursement rates to health-care providers. Current rates are already causing many doctors to restrict the number of Medicare patients they accept. Further reductions will only worsen this situation, leaving Medicare patients with fewer options.
Furthermore, there is little to prevent the IPAB's authority from becoming absolute. Its cost-cutting actions will be automatically implemented unless Congress is able to adopt alternative proposals that result in equivalent savings. The short congressional review period and super three-fifths majority veto requirement will mean that virtually none of the IPAB acts would be overturned.
Bottom line: The future of Medicare should not be in the hands of a panel of Washington insiders at the expense of Medicare beneficiaries.
CHRISTOPHER P. MOLINEAUX
Pennsylvania Bio is the statewide trade association for the life sciences industry, including biotechnology, pharmaceutical, medical device and diagnostics companies, academic research institutions, investors and related organizations.
First Published October 14, 2012 12:00 am