July 12 2011
Medicare spending increased quickly during recent decades and will soar as 78 million baby boomers retire. Even though the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) cut about $491 billion from Medicare, spending on the program is still expected to double by 2050.
To combat Medicare’s rising costs, ObamaCare created a new government entity called the IPAB: The Independent Payment Advisory Board. This 15-member board of presidential appointees is charged with reducing federal spending on Medicare so Medicare’s growth rate matches a lower, target rate each year.
To carry out this duty, IPAB will make decisions about Medicare payment policy that will impact access to health care for millions of seniors. Since end-of-life care is typically the most expensive kind of health care, these restrictions will weigh most heavily on the oldest and sickest.
Section 5000A of the Affordable Care Act, also know as the “Minimum Essential” requirement mandates the vast majority of Americans obtain health insurance coverage or pay a penalty.
Controls to the cost of taxpayer-funded health care program are sorely needed. However, reforms to our Medicare and Medicaid systems should focus on returning control over resources to individuals, so that people can choose policies that represent their own preferences for care. By consolidating incredible power in a small group of bureaucrats who will make sweeping decisions that will affect many Americans and their families, Obamacare and IPAB take us in the wrong direction.