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Pallone Statement on the Markup of the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB)

February 29, 2012
Press Release

WASINGTON, D.C.— Today, Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06), Senior Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Health  issued the following statement at a meeting of the Health Subcommittee regarding the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB).  Congressman Pallone has consistently opposed the IPAB, which is an unelected body that is tasked with changes to the Medicare payment system independently, as an executive overreach and encroaching on congressional authority. 

While Congressman Pallone voted in favor of the elimination of the IPAB, he criticized efforts by House Republicans to use the IPAB as another step in their attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act piece-by-piece.

“Thank you Chairman Pitts.  I wish I could say I was happy about today’s markup to repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board, better known as IPAB.  But I’m certainly not.  I have made it clear, from the infancy of the idea, that I was opposed to IPAB.  But the reasons for my position are NOT the same as my Republican colleagues.            

“This markup is not real.  This is an effort by the other side to continue it’s a political game of defacing the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  All the Republicans want to do is repeal the ACA piece-by-piece.  And today is simply another attempt of those efforts.  

“My opposition to IBAP focuses on my belief that Congress must stop ceding legislative power to the executive branch.  For me, this is about Congressional prerogatives being limited.   IPAB, like other independent commissions, encroaches upon legislative authority. 

“I’m opposed to an independent commission playing a legislative role other than on a recommendatory basis.  It’s not the job of an independent commission to make decisions on health care policy for Medicare beneficiaries.  

“Now, I simply cannot stay quiet about the rhetoric from the other side.  How can the Republicans lecture anyone about IPAB and its consequences for Medicare and seniors?  You purport to want to protect Medicare and seniors, yet last year every single one of you voted to end Medicare as we know it.  Your budget destroys Medicare.  You turn the program and millions of seniors over to the private insurers with no accountability.  In fact, the Republican’s Medicare plan would more than double the typical senior’s out-of-pocket health care spending in 2022, compared to what their costs would be under traditional Medicare – increasing their out-of-pocket costs by more than $6,000. 

“So, let me be very clear.  My vote in support of abolishing IPAB is not related to my support for the ACA.  In fact, I do not see IPAB as a significant factor in the ACA. The ACA has finally set our health care system on a path to reform.  I wish the Republicans would simply embrace the ACA and not use the IPAB as a reason for its repeal. 

“My hope is that we can work together to build on the success of the ACA’s reforms. Thank you.”


Ray Zaccaro