IPAB Shifts Costs and May Negatively Affect Patient Access

Huffington Post: 05/07/2013

Enacting a safeguard against congressional inaction sufficiently unpalatable that it spurs compromise and bipartisan action? This rationale backing the sequestration agreement is similar to one supporting the creation of the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), the 15-member panel created by the Affordable Care Act and tasked with controlling Medicare spending. Given the scrambling that is occurring to undo the pain of sequestration, it is also time to reconsider the critical flaws of the IPAB approach and focus instead on meaningful Medicare reforms.

Regardless of the state of Medicare spending, IPAB remains a problematic delegation of congressional responsibility that cannot, by design, deliver the system improvements Medicare badly needs. As it is structured, IPAB has a limited view of reforms — largely focused on payments — that do nothing to address the primary drivers of costs — chronic diseases. Just think, today 27 percent of seniors are diabetic and another 50 percent pre-diabetic. These populations have doubled over the past 20 or so years. Moreover, virtually all of the spending — 95 percent — in the Medicare program is associated with chronic disease. Over half of Medicare beneficiaries are treated for five or more chronic conditions. Read More

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