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Public Statements

The Ongoing Health Care Debate

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. QUAYLE. I thank the gentleman for yielding, and I was listening to his comments about talking with his constituents back home and about how many doctors are not seeing Medicare patients, not seeing new Medicare patients, or are not seeing the patients that they currently provide services to.

I know, like the gentleman from Arkansas, he does a lot of teletown halls and town halls just like I do. The other week I was on a teletown hall with my constituents back home, and there were a number of people who raised the concerns that their doctors were not going to provide them the medical services that they had in the past because they were uncertain about the payments that the Medicare system would be giving them.

This is a constant refrain that we hear back home from our seniors, that they are consistently getting turned down by their physicians because of the lack of payment from Medicare. This is a system that we need to fix. This is a system that we need to make sure that we keep the promises to our seniors and reform it for future generations so that it will be there to protect them when they reach the retirement age.

If you look at ObamaCare, it is really filled with provisions that confer arbitrary power, that raise costs. It cuts benefits, it harms access, and it restricts choice. Against this really sorry backdrop, the Independent Payment Advisory Board, or IPAB, has the dubious distinction of being one of the absolute worst provisions in the entire health care bill. Indeed, this single provision causes all the problems that I just mentioned. This board of 15 unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats would have the power to impose price controls that will cut senior access to care. To make it worse, this board would not have to meet in public or listen to public input. Amazingly, ObamaCare even leaves the door wide open for IPAB members to receive gifts from lobbyists. In other words, the public has no right to talk to IPAB, but lobbyists willing to shower them with gifts do.

President Obama claims his rationing board will solve the real problem of Medicare's rising costs. It doesn't. The only mandate the board has to cut costs is by restricting payments to doctors that provide health care. It is already the case that 12 percent of doctors will not take Medicare patients due to the unreliability of government payouts. That is twice the number of doctors who refused to see Medicare patients in 2004, which is a frightening statistic on how quickly that is rising. Additionally, a recent survey showed that 60 percent of doctors have or will restrict their medical practices as a result of ObamaCare. Of those doctors, 87 percent said they would be forced to restrict the amount of care they offered to Medicare patients.

ObamaCare utterly ignores the laws of economics in this instance. You can't cut the cost of a service by cutting the number of people supplying it, and that's exactly what IPAB would do. By forcing doctors to turn away Medicare patients, the costs will go up as fewer and fewer doctors see to the needs of the growing number of seniors. Either that, or IPAB will directly ration care. It is astounding that the President would look at an important issue like caring for our seniors and decide that the best way to handle rising costs is by attacking senior access to health care and the doctors who provide it.

Medicare does need reform, as my friend from Arkansas knows, and has been on the floor numerous times talking about the reforms that are necessary. It needs real structural reform that protects access for our current seniors and fixes the system for future generations. As with so many other issues, the President punted on making these needed reforms. Instead, he chose to give us a rationing board that would make the problem worse.

Let's repeal IPAB and give our seniors the care they deserve.


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