The U.S. House today voted to block the creation of an unelected panel of bureaucrats who would have exercised dictatorial control over Medicare payments, as Congressman John Carter joined his colleagues in voting to approve H.R. 5, the Protecting Access to Healthcare (PATH) Act, by a vote of 223-181.
"The entire Obamacare plan still needs to be repealed, but this victory today is a good step in reaching that goal," says Carter. "It is equally important that as we repeal bad law, we replace it with good law, and I am very pleased that we included medical liability reform in this package that will start the process of holding down rising health costs and insurance premiums."
H.R. 5 would repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), created by the Democrats' federal takeover of healthcare, and would enact medical liability reform, as outlined in the Pledge to America. Under Obamacare, the IPAB would be a panel of 15 unelected and unaccountable government bureaucrats tasked with reducing Medicare costs through arbitrary cuts to providers resulting in de facto rationing of care for seniors. The board's decisions could not be challenged in the courts, unlike other agency rules, and carry the full force of the law.
Medical liability reform measures included in H.R. 5 would reduce liability insurance and the practice of defensive medicine. The bill would place a $250,000 cap on noneconomic damages; limit contingency fees lawyers can charge; place guidelines on punitive damages; while preserving all state laws that place higher or lower limits on any form of damages.
According to non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimates, H.R. 5 would reduce the deficit by $45.5 billion over the FY2013-2022 period.