LINTHICUM, MD, JANUARY 23, 2013 – The American Urological Association (AUA) today joined 25 other medical organizations in announcing support of the Protecting Seniors’ Access to Medicare Act, introduced by Reps. Phil Roe, MD (R-TN) and Allyson Schwartz (D-PA). The bipartisan bill would repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB).
Established by the Affordable Care Act, the IPAB is an unelected and unaccountable body of 15 persons tasked with developing ways to reduce Medicare spending and is slated to begin work as early as April 30, 2013. As presently structured, the IPAB cannot include any practicing physicians, presenting a worrisome absence of insight into the needs of patients and physicians alike. Alarmingly, the board is not subject to administrative or judicial review and lacks the typical Congressional oversight requirements of transparent hearings, debate and meaningful opportunities for critical stakeholder input. Any IPAB proposal automatically carries the effect of law unless Congress acts within an extremely limited statutory “fast track” time frame, or unless three-fifths of the Senate votes to override the board. If the IPAB fails to offer a proposal or never becomes operational, its power to cut Medicare spending mandatorily is placed solely in the hands of the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
“The IPAB has the potential to be far-reaching and have devastating effects for patients and physicians, who are already struggling under reimbursement cuts from the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula,” said Dr. David F. Penson, MD, MPH, AUA Health Policy Chair. “Meaningful healthcare reform is about more than simply cutting costs -- it’s about generating savings through long-term delivery system reforms.”
“We applaud and thank Dr. Roe and Congresswoman Schwartz for their leadership on this issue and we hope that this legislation is a priority in the coming months.”
The AUA is a participating member of the IPAB Repeal Coalition.
About the American Urological Association: Founded in 1902 and headquartered near Baltimore, Maryland, the American Urological Association is a leading advocate for the specialty of urology, and has more than 19,000 members throughout the world. The AUA is a premier urologic association, providing invaluable support to the urologic community as it pursues its mission of fostering the highest standards of urologic care through education, research and the formulation of health policy.
About the IPAB Repeal Coalition: The IPAB Repeal Coalition is a group of 26 medical specialties and patient organizations representing more than 350,000 physicians and their patients. In the 112th Congress, the coalition spearheaded efforts to inform members of Congress about the dangers the IPAB poses to providing quality health care for our country’s senior citizens and people with disabilities. The coalition also supported Rep. Roe’s bill, H.R. 452, the “Medicare Decisions Accountability Act,” a measure to repeal IPAB that recorded 234 bipartisan co-sponsors and passed the House of Representatives.
Wendy Waldsachs Isett, AUA