The Corner

House to Block IPAB Fast Track Authoritarianism

Well, this is refreshing — a little spine. House Republicans intend to thwart the Independent Payment Advisory Board’s authoritarian “fast track” authority. From The Hill story:

The House is set to vote Thursday afternoon on rules for the 113th Congress. The rules package says the House won’t comply with fast-track procedures for the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) — a controversial cost-cutting board Republicans have long resisted. The rules package signals that Republicans might not bring up Medicare cuts recommended by the IPAB — blocking part of a politically controversial law, and resisting Medicare spending cuts…The law’s requirements for considering IPAB recommendations “will not apply in the One Hundred Thirteenth Congress,” the rules package says.

That’s an interesting approach. The beauty part is that it doesn’t depend on the Senate or require President Obama’s signature.

But it might not be so easy. The drafters of Obamacare made IPAB a quasi-government within the government — which is why I call it authoritarian — to the point that if the House doesn’t introduce the IPAB recommendation, it becomes law anyway. As I wrote elsewhere, the law states:

• 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.

• 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.

I don’t see how that is constitutional. But rest assured, Chief Justice John Roberts would find a way…


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