Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) today voted to pass the Protecting Access to Healthcare (PATH) Act (H.R. 5), which would repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) and reform medical malpractice laws.
"This bipartisan legislation will help restore the integrity of our health and retirement security system by removing a major barrier between patients and their doctors," said Smith, who supports full repeal of the President's health care law.
IPAB is a fifteen-member panel established by the new health care law required to achieve specified savings in years when Medicare spending is deemed "too high." This board would have the power to limit access to medical treatments by reducing reimbursements for disfavored procedures to the point where physicians simply would not provide them.
H.R. 5 also includes significant medical malpractice reform, which according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office will save taxpayers $45 billion and lower medical malpractice insurance premiums by an average of 25-30 percent. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, 40 percent of medical malpractice suits filed in the U.S. are "without merit." The widespread practice of defensive medicine and high medical malpractice insurance premiums drives up the costs of health care for all Americans.
"These common sense reforms will help reduce health care costs for all Americans while ensuring high quality of care," added Smith. "The system we have in Nebraska has served us well, and these reforms will not preempt State laws which otherwise cap damages."
H.R. 5 passed the House of Representatives by a 223-181 vote. Smith is a co-sponsor of H.R. 2, which would repeal the President's new health care law, formally known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.