Berkley On The IPAB

In March, Shelley Berkley voted against a measure to repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB).  The IPAB is a board of 15 unelected bureaucrats that was created by Obamacare to cut Medicare costs.  Even Obama’s own Health & Human Services secretary admitted the IPAB could threaten access to some healthcare. Additionally, the chief actuary of Medicare said some of the access problems could be very serious. 

 Berkley has opposed them in the past, but this time she voted to support her party and preserve the IPAB.  Maybe she thinks the IPAB is bad, maybe she thinks the IPAB is good, but what’s the difference when you only vote the way your party wants you to?



The IPAB Consists Of 15 Unelected “Experts.”  “So the IPAB – an unelected, 15-member board of health care ‘experts’ – will be mandated to cut Medicare spending to achieve targeted savings.” (Douglas Holtz-Eakin, “Repeal Dnd Replace IPAB,” Politico, 7/12/11)


The 15-Member Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) Will Recommend Medicare Payment Cuts To Doctors. “If Congress has the will to tackle Medicare spending, it won’t have to worry about a controversial cost-cutting panel created by the healthcare reform law, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Tuesday. Republicans charge that the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) will ‘ration’ seniors’ care, and it has been a top target in the GOP’s assault on President Obama’s healthcare law. The 15-member board will recommend cuts in Medicare payments to doctors, which will take effect automatically unless Congress votes to block them.” (Sam Baker, “Sebelius Tests Congress On Medicare Board,” The Hill, 7//13/11)


Doctors Have Refused New Medicare Patients Because Of Lower Reimbursement Rates. “The number of doctors refusing new Medicare patients because of low government payment rates is setting a new high, just six months before millions of Baby Boomers begin enrolling in the government health care program.  Recent surveys by national and state medical societies have found more doctors limiting Medicare patients, partly because Congress has failed to stop an automatic 21% cut in payments that doctors already regard as too low.” (Richard Wolf, “Doctors Limit New Medicare Patients,” USA Today, 6/21/10)


  • 18 Percent Of Doctors In Illinois Restrict Their Number Of      Medicare Patients. “In Illinois, 18% of doctors restrict the number of      Medicare patients in their practice, according to a medical society      survey.” (Richard Wolf, “Doctors Limit New      Medicare Patients,” USA Today,      6/21/10)


HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius Claims IPAB Will “Drive Down Costs Without Affecting Our Seniors’ Access To The Care And Treatment They Need.” “Given the long list of additional considerations the statute imposes on the Board, we expect the Board will focus on ways to find efficiencies in the payment systems and align provider incentives to drive down costs without affecting our seniors’ access to the care and treatment they need.” (HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Energy And Commerce Committee, U.S. House Of Representatives, Testimony, 7/13/11, p. 12)


  • SEBELIUS: “The Claims That The Board Will Ration Care Are Simply False.” (Kathleen Sebelius, Op-Ed, “IPAB Will Protect Medicare,” Politico, 6/23/11)


But Richard Foster, Medicare’s Chief Actuary Says Cuts To Medicare Could Leave Many Providers “Unwilling Or Unable To Continue Providing Services.” “If the cuts do go into effect, many providers would be ‘unwilling or unable to continue providing services,’ Foster said.” (Philip Klein, “Medicare’s Chief Actuary Says Obamacare’s Cuts To The Program Likely Unsustainable,” Washington Examiner, 7/13/11)

  • Foster Warns “Access Problems Could Be Serious.” “The potential access problems could be serious.” (Philip Klein, “Medicare’s Chief Actuary Says Obamacare’s Cuts To The Program Likely Unsustainable,” The Washington Examiner, 7/13/11)


Sebelius Eventually Conceded That IPAB Could Threaten Access To Certain Treatments Such As Dialysis. “‘If Congress accepted the recommendations and made the decision that cuts in dialysis were appropriate,’ Sebelius replied, ‘I assume there could be some providers who would decide that would not be a service they would any longer deliver…’” (HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, House Energy And Commerce Committee’s Health Subcommittee, Testimony, 7/13/11; Access Video Here)


Payment Decisions Will Lead To “De Facto Rationing.” “The board’s payment decisions…will inevitably result in de facto rationing by cutting payments and therefore access to certain benefits.” (Grace Marie-Turner, Budget Committee, U.S. House Of Representatives, Testimony, 7/12/11, p. 4)


  • Doctors Will Turn Away More Patients “Once IPAB Ratchets Down Payments Further.” “…[D]octors are already turning away patients because of low reimbursements. Once IPAB ratchets down payments further, they’ll turn away even more patients.” (Jonathan Cohn, “Why IPAB Is Essential — A Timely Review,” Kaiser Health News,” 7/29/11)


Berkley Voted Against A Bill To Repeal The IPAB. “To improve patient access to health care services and provide improved medical care by reducing the excessive burden the liability system places on the health care delivery system.” (H.R. 5, CQ Vote #126: Adopted 223-181: R 216-10; D 7-171, 3/22/12, Berkley Voted Nay)


Berkley Has Been Opposed The IPAB In The Past. “Berkley also had been opposed to the board, contending it took away authority over Medicare rates that should remain with Congress.” (Steve Tetreault, “Nevadans Disagree On Medicare Board Repeal,” Las Vegas Review-Journal, 3/23/12)