Congressman Frank Guinta and I agree on one thing, spiraling health care costs are a threat to the future of Medicare.
The blank-check system in Medicare, in which the government pays most costs with no incentive to save or be efficient, threatens the solvency of this critical program.
“The failure is to not act,” he says. So what action does he take? He votes to do away with a key program specifically designed to keep Medicare costs from zooming out of control!
The Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), introduced in President Obama’s healthcare reform, would make recommendations to Congress to help reduce Medicare costs. The board only acts if the projected growth rate of Medicare exceeds targets; it is prohibited from recommending policies that ration care, raise taxes, increase premiums, restrict benefits or change eligibility requirements; and its recommendations are subject to Congressional approval.
Yesterday, Guinta voted to eliminate the IPAB. How did he justify this vote? Demagoguery. The board would “greatly restrict” access to health care, he claimed.
IPAB is tasked with reducing medical costs, and it would do that by restricting healthcare access for seniors. Granite State seniors deserve better than a 15 member panel of unelected bureaucrats intruding into their relationship with their doctor. They shouldn’t have to cut through red tape just to get the medical care they need. Hardworking Granite Staters who have paid into Medicare for decades have the right to receive the healthcare they’ve counted on. IPAB would greatly restrict that, and that’s why IPAB has to go.
Writing in Forbes, Rick Ungar calls repeal of the IPAB a “giant Medicare fraud.”
Sometimes, the willingness of Congress to so blatantly act on behalf of special interests to the out-and-out detriment of the average American — or to waste time and frighten the taxpayer all for the benefit of a good political narrative —astounds even me.
According to the House GOP, other political players and the storied think tanks whose pockets are lined by special interests such as the pharmaceutical companies, hospital associations, or just about anyone who might lose a few bucks if someone has to actually do something to get medical costs under control, this IPAB is the mechanism that the socialists (and you know who you are) will use to ration our healthcare.
Except, as the facts would have it, it turns out that this small board of medical experts can’t ration a thing — whether they want to or not.
Let’s see. The Center for Responsive Politics reports Guinta has raised over $97,000 in campaign contributions from the insurance industry, $56,000 from health professionals and $30,000 from hospitals and nursing homes.