By Bob Goodlatte
I have fought President Obama and the Democrats' health care law since its earliest stages. I spoke out in strong opposition to the bill when the Democrats passed it against the wishes of the overwhelming majority of the American people and one of my first acts of the 112th Congress was to co-sponsor and vote to repeal this monstrosity in its entirety. At every turn I have worked to repeal and defund this government takeover of our health care system including strongly supporting numerous bills that would repeal some of the most egregious provisions of the law.
In the coming days the House of Representatives will once again vote on legislation designed to dismantle one of the more disturbing provisions of the President's health care reform. The bipartisan Medicare Decisions Accountability Act, which is supported by a majority of the Members of the House, including myself, repeals the provision in the President's health care bill that created the Independent Payment Advisory Board, known as IPAB.
IPAB is the ultimate example of government dictating medical decisions that should be left to individuals and their doctors. This rationing board is made up of 15 unelected bureaucrats who will be tasked with cutting spending on health care treatments and so they will be the ones defining "necessary care", not your physician.
Of particular concern to me is the unaccountability of IPAB. Board members are to be appointed by the President. Fewer than half can be health care providers and none can be practicing physicians. If IPAB fails to make recommendations or does not have enough members appointed to become operational, all the power of the panel passes to the Secretary of Health and Human Services.
The creation of IPAB has drawn the ire of the medical community as well. In fact a broad coalition of more than 270 health care organizations have publicly stated their support for the complete repeal of IPAB and expressed their concerns that the Board "will not only severely limit Medicare beneficiaries' access to care but also increase healthcare costs that are shifted onto the private sector."
Without transparency and accountability, Medicare beneficiaries will see funding slashed at the expense of improving quality of care. That is why in addition to supporting legislation to repeal IPAB, I am working to ensure that no federal funds are available for IBAP or the activities of the board.
My constituents continue to express strong concerns about the President's new health care law. They fear higher premiums, more spending, and new mandates. As your Congressman I will continue working to repeal and defund this new law in its entirety. In the meantime the House will keep working to repeal the most troubling provisions of the law, like the creation of the Independent Payment Advisory Board. While we need to make some reforms to our health care system, we must never put Washington bureaucrats in control of personal health care decisions.