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Public Statements

Protecting Access to Healthcare Act

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mrs. MYRICK. I thank the chairman.

Mr. Chairman, this is Washington, so we have to have an acronym for everything up here. The IPAB isn't a new techie device but is an example of one of the many misguided parts of the budget-busting health care reform law.

What is this debate really about? We all know that Medicare is headed toward financial catastrophe, and the health reform law only succeeded in putting the program in a more precarious position. There is no easy solution to this problem, but Republicans have put forward a plan that would actually set the program on a healthy fiscal path again, without hurting those who are already on the program.

Of course, because this is Washington, rather than having a hearty debate, this proposal continues to be demagogued and derided. Instead, the health reform bill gave us IPAB, an unaccountable board tasked with limiting procedures and treatments in order to control costs. It's a top-down, unconstitutional, ineffective, and inefficient way to solve Medicare's fiscal problems. And if you think that this board won't make recommendations to limit the use of expensive but life-sustaining treatments, you haven't been paying attention.

But here's something that gets lost in this debate: IPAB doesn't just apply to Medicare benefits for seniors who are on a government program.

First off, those of us who have been here for a while know that private insurers tend to follow Medicare. We see it all the time. Once Medicare changes coverage for a treatment, those decisions push private payers to also move in that direction, because so much of our health care system relies on Medicare's policies. The government already controls so much of our health care sphere that inefficiencies abound.

If that weren't enough, starting in 2015, the IPAB can make decisions about what private plans will cover. Yes, 15 people will be deciding what private companies will be covering. That's what is fundamentally wrong with the health care reform law, and we should repeal the whole thing. But in the meantime, let's repeal this ill-conceived board and address this country's medical malpractice problems while we're at it.

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