IPAB Repeal Gains Momentum

Five hundred organizations have written to Congress urging lawmakers to eliminate the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB). The board was created by the ACA and is charged with making cuts to Medicare should program spending exceed a certain threshold. IPAB is required to achieve savings within a one-year timeframe, which would make the use of long-term structural improvements to the Medicare program’s efficiency difficult and make payment cuts to providers far more likely. Members of IPAB are nominated by the President and subject to Senate confirmation. The President has not yet nominated anyone to the board. H.R. 1190, legislation to repeal IPAB, was introduced by Rep. Phil Roe, M.D. (R-Tenn.) and Rep. Linda Sánchez (D-Calif.) earlier this year. The Protecting Seniors’ Access to Medicare Act of 2015 recently surpassed 218 bipartisan cosponsors, enough support necessary to ensure House passage should the legislation receive a floor vote. The Senate companion bill (S. 141) introduced by Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) currently has 38 cosponsors, all republicans.

Upcoming Congressional Meetings and Hearings

House Veterans’ Affairs Committee: hearing titled “Assessing the Promise and Progress of the Choice Program;” 10:30 a.m., 334 Cannon Bldg.; May 13

House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee: mark up of 21st Century Cures Act; details to be announced (opening statements expected the evening of 5/13); May 14

Senate Finance Committee: hearing titled “A Pathway to Improving Care for Medicare Patients with Chronic Conditions;” 9:00 a.m., 215 Dirksen Bldg.; May 14

House Veterans’ Affairs Health Subcommittee: markup to consider pending health legislation; 9:45 a.m., 334 Cannon Bldg.; May 15 (markup will precede the hearing below)

House Veterans’ Affairs Health Subcommittee: hearing titled “Overcoming Barriers to More Efficient and Effective VA [Veterans Affairs] Staffing;” 334 Cannon Bldg.; May 15

Health Legislation Recently Introduced

H.R. 2237 (VA), to direct the Secretary of Veterans to establish within the Department of Veterans Affairs a center of excellence in the prevention, diagnosis, mitigation, treatment, and rehabilitation of health conditions relating to exposure to burn pits; ESTY; jointly, to the committees on Veterans’ Affairs and Armed Services; May 5

S. 1189 (RURAL COMMUNITIES), to provide incentives to physicians to practice in rural and medically underserved communities and for other purposes; KLOBUCHAR; to the Committee on the Judiciary;
May 5

S. 1190 (PHARMACIES), to amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to ensure equal access of Medicare beneficiaries to community pharmacies in underserved areas as network pharmacies under Medicare prescription drug coverage, and for other purposes; CAPITO; to the Committee on Finance;
May 5

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