Today Jaime Herrera Beutler and a bipartisan majority of her colleagues in the U.S. House voted to eliminate the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), a group of 15 unelected bureaucrats charged with making Medicare cuts that would reduce seniors' access to health care.
This bill, the "Protecting Access to Health Care Act," would repeal the provision of the 2010 health care law that creates the powerful board specifically tasked with cutting reimbursement rates to doctors who provide care for seniors. As a result of IPAB's cuts, seniors who use Medicare could be denied access to treatment and services because physicians simply could not afford to provide care.
During her first year in Congress, Jaime cosponsored H.R. 452, the "Medicare Decisions Accountability Act" -- which repeals IPAB -- along with more than 230 Democrat and Republican Members of Congress. Hundreds of groups representing employers, patients, physicians and health groups -- including the Washington State Medical Association -- support the repeal of IPAB.
"Too many seniors in Southwest Washington rely on Medicare to put the program's future in the hands of unelected D.C. bureaucrats," said Jaime. "I voted today to protect seniors from being turned away when they need access to health care. As it is, too many physicians are forced to deny new Medicare patients because they can't afford to treat them. This unelected Medicare cutting board would further restrict that important health care access.
"There is no doubt that we must act to preserve Medicare -- Republicans and Democrats agree on that point. Citizens have earned and paid for this critical health care coverage. But allowing this board to limit seniors from seeing their doctors is not the solution."
Military health care affected: TRICARE reimbursement rates are directly tied to Medicare, so health care for military personnel could be impacted by IPAB cuts.
IPAB Unelected and Unaccountable: Each IPAB member would be appointed, not elected. The 2010 health care law allows individual board members to "accept, use, and dispose of gifts or donations of services or property" (H.R. 3590, Section 30403) making them susceptible to industry and lobbyist influence.