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Human Exceptionalism

Life and dignity with Wesley J. Smith.

E.J. Dionne Wrong About IPAB



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E.J. Dionne, defender of all things liberal, has come to the support of the anti-liberty Independent Payment Advisory Board. From, “Unreason on Healthcare:”

Or take the health care law’s creation of the Independent Payment Advisory Board, known as IPAB. It’s a 15-member body charged with finding ways of cutting the costs of treatment under Medicare. Congress would have the final say, but through a fast-track process. Yet the ink was barely dry on Obama’s signature of the Affordable Care Act when a group of Republican senators introduced what they called the Health Care Bureaucrats Elimination Act, to get rid of IPAB.

No, Congress wouldn’t have the final say. IPAB’s is the cornerstone for a looming bureaucratic state because its power supercedes even a presidential veto. Here’s now the “fast track” system–so glibly glossed over by Dionne–works, as described in my article, “Our New Obamacare Masters:”

• By January 15 each year, the Independent Payment Advisory Board must submit a proposal to Congress and the president for reaching Medicare savings targets in the coming year. The majority leaders in the House and Senate must introduce bills incorporating the board’s proposal the day they receive it.

• Congress cannot “consider any bill, resolution, amendment, or conference report  …  that would repeal or otherwise change the recommendations of the board” if such changes fail to meet the board’s budgetary target.

• By April 1, the committees of jurisdiction must complete their consideration of the proposal. Any committee that fails to meet the deadline is barred from further considering the bill.

• The secretary of health and human services must implement the Independent Payment Advisory Board’s proposal, as passed by Congress and signed by the president, on August 15 of the year in which the proposal is submitted.

• If Congress does not pass the proposal or a substitute plan meeting the Independent Payment Advisory Board’s financial target before August 15, or if the president vetoes the proposal passed by Congress, the original Independent Payment Advisory Board recommendations automatically take effect.

Further demonstrating the Star Chamber-like powers of the Independent Payment Advisory Board, Congress cannot consider any bill or amendment that would repeal or change this fast-track congressional consideration process without a three-fifths vote (60) in the Senate. Not only that, but the implementation of the board’s remedy is exempted from administrative or judicial review.

IPAB can’t ration care yet–the real death panel threat–but powerful voices are urging it be given that power. IPAB needs to be resisted by every legal means available until the Board is rendered truly–and merely–advisory.



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