Opening Remarks, Chairman Paul Ryan

“Bipartisan concerns have been raised with several aspects of this board.  While the proponents claim that beneficiaries will be held harmless from the board’s decisions, how can IPAB impose sharp cuts to providers without any adverse impact on their patients?”

Given their unprecedented new power over Medicare, to whom are these 15 bureaucrats accountable? There are bipartisan concerns on this question. Democrats, including members of this committee, have raised concerns with Congress turning its responsibilities over to this board.

Seniors are also seeking clarity on the President’s recent efforts to expand this board’s power over Medicare.  In an April speech, the President called for IPAB to enforce further restrictions in Medicare’s growth rate – down to GDP + 0.5%. The health-care law is already driving Medicare’s reimbursement rates well below the artificially low Medicaid rates.  According to Medicare’s Chief Actuary Richard Foster, the health care law will pay doctors less than half of what their services cost at the end of the decade, and down to 33% in the decades ahead.  Foster warns that these cuts are driving Medicare providers out of business and resulting in harsh disruptions in quality and access for seniors.

Yet the President’s ‘framework’ calls upon IPAB to slash reimbursements even further. It remains incumbent upon the Administration to specify how this board will squeeze hundreds of billions of additional dollars from Medicare over the next decade, as the President has proposed.  READ FULL ARTICLE

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