Medicare Monday: What the experts are saying about the Independent Payment Advisory Board

Stakeholders across the health care system are raising concerns about IPAB and calling for it to be repealed.

Nicole LongoMay 1, 2017

Medicare Monday: What the experts are saying about the Independent Payment Advisory Board.


The Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), a panel of 15 members selected by the President and confirmed by the Senate, is tasked with proposing cuts to Medicare if spending exceeds a certain growth target. If no board is appointed, IPAB’s powers transfer automatically to the Secretary of Health and Human Services.

With projections indicating the spending growth target will be reached this year, stakeholders across the health care system are raising concerns about IPAB and calling for it to be repealed. Here’s a look at what they’re saying:

  • More than 650 organizations representing all sectors of health care signed a letter to Congress asking them to repeal IPAB stating: “We strongly support bringing greater cost-efficiency to the Medicare program. We also advocate continuing efforts to improve the quality of care delivered to Medicare beneficiaries. The Independent Payment Advisory Board will achieve neither of these objectives and will only weaken, not strengthen, a program critical to the health and well-being of current and future beneficiaries. We urge Congress to eliminate the IPAB provision.”
  • In The Hill, Alex B. Valadka, MD, a neurosurgeon at Virginia Commonwealth University and a spokesperson for the Alliance of Specialty Medicine, advocated for the repeal of IPAB: “As a neurosurgeon who treats Medicare patients, I consider the IPAB to be one of the most insidious elements of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and it needs to go [… ] Specialty physicians recognize that we need to control the growth of healthcare spending, but the IPAB is simply the wrong solution for addressing these budgetary challenges.”
  • In Morning Consult the president of the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery Association, Thomas E. Rohrer, said: “[T]he Medicare program and seniors’ access to quality health care faces an imminent threat unless Congress acts rapidly to address it. That threat is the government-created Independent Payment Advisory Board, a never-tested entity charged with making significant cuts to the Medicare program. […] There is no compelling justification to maintain a mechanism that will simply cut resources from a health care program serving over 55 million Americans and, in doing so, undermine quality, access, value and sustainability.”

Members of Congress from both parties have also raised concerns with IPAB, with Senator WydenSenator Cornyn and Representatives Roe and Ruiz introducing legislation that would repeal it. 

Learn more about why IPAB is bad for patients here.

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