Polling/Data, Press Release | November 29th, 2016

More than 600 National and State Organizations Call On Congress to Repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board

IPAB Expected to Trigger in 2017 Threatens Seniors’ Healthcare; Nationwide Survey Shows 3 in 4 Americans Oppose Limiting Access to Care

WASHINGTON, D.C. — More than 600 organizations – representing patients, employers, veterans, minority groups, and nearly every sector of American healthcare – are joining forces today to urge Congress to act swiftly in repealing the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB).

There is heightened urgency to take action as IPAB is expected to trigger in 2017, requiring significant reductions in Medicare expenditures. Created by the Affordable Care Act, IPAB requires a board of presidential appointees to propose these cuts or, if IPAB does not develop a proposal, the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services would be empowered to recommend Medicare cuts, which would automatically go into effect unless overridden by a supermajority vote in Congress.

In a letter to Congress, the organizations wrote that IPAB activation “would be devastating for patients, affecting access to care and innovative therapies. IPAB-generated payment reductions would only increase the access difficulties faced by too many Medicare beneficiaries. Furthermore, payment reductions to Medicare providers will almost certainly result in a shifting of health costs to employers and consumers in the private sector.”

Organizations signing the letter include the Alliance of Specialty Medicine, American Medical Association, Easter Seals, Community Oncology Alliance, National Retail Federation, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Vietnam Veterans of America, and patient advocates, healthcare provider organizations and medical societies from all 50 states.

“Regardless of actions the next Congress and administration take regarding the Affordable Care Act, Congress must repeal IPAB immediately before it can go into effect,” said Mary R. Grealy, president of the Healthcare Leadership Council.  “More than 55 million seniors rely on Medicare for access to routine care as well as lifesaving and life-strengthening therapies.  This is a lifeline that shouldn’t be in the hands of an unelected board or one individual.”

The alliance of hundreds of organizations supporting IPAB repeal was announced today at a national media briefing featuring Ms. Grealy and advocates representing patients and healthcare providers.

IPAB repeal advocates also released the results of a nationwide survey of nearly 2,000 registered voters conducted by Morning Consult. On issues related to decision making in healthcare, the survey found:

  • More than eight of every 10 voters trust physicians the most to make decisions about treatments and medicines.
  • 75 percent of respondents – and nine of every 10 seniors – agree with the statement, “The government needs to find ways to keep the promise and integrity of Medicare without cuts to the program.”
  • When asked about different approaches to address Medicare’s finances, 75 percent opposed limiting access to treatments and medications, 70 percent opposed rationing of care, and 50 percent said they were against controlling Medicare spending by limiting payments to doctors.
  • Just over 60 percent said Congress should approve any changes to Medicare.

Also announced is the creation of a website, www.ProtectMyDrAndMe.com, and social media platforms with information about the IPAB debate and providing an opportunity for citizens to make their voices heard.

“We know from previous votes that there is bipartisan support in Congress for doing away with IPAB.  We know that seniors want their doctors, not a board of political appointees, making decisions about their healthcare.  We know that, as it is structured, IPAB will not enhance the value of Medicare, but rather simply make cuts that undermine healthcare access and quality,” concluded Ms. Grealy.  “The answer is clear.  Congress must repeal IPAB before it can do serious harm to those who depend upon Medicare for their health and well-being.”

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