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March 22, 2012 Print
Speaker John Boehner

U.S. House Votes to Eliminate ObamaCare Panel

by Karla Dial

The U.S. House of Representatives voted 223-181 today to get rid of a panel of unelected appointees charged with making health care decisions for consumers, authorized by ObamaCare.

Under the federal health care law, the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) would be tasked with keeping Medicare costs down — and that could mean going so far as rationing health care, if the 15 appointed members don’t feel certain treatments or services are warranted.

“Today’s vote scraps the president’s unelected health care rationing board which would hurt seniors by restricting their treatment options and denying access to care,” said House Speaker John Boehner. “The bill also keeps our pledge to curb junk lawsuits and defensive medicine that drive up health care costs. It marks the twenty-sixth vote we’ve taken to fully repeal, defund, or dismantle portions of ObamaCare, which is increasing costs and making it harder for small businesses to hire new workers.”

During floor debate on Wednesday, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp pointed out how unpopular ObamaCare is with consumers.

“Nearly half of the American people oppose the law,” he said. “IPAB, which is a critical component of the law, illustrates why those concerns are still so strong. Seventy-three percent (of consumers) expressed concern that Medicare cuts recommended by IPAB could go into effect without Congressional approval.”

Though H.R. 5 easily passed the Republican-controlled House, it’s expected to face a higher hurdle in the Senate. But Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said today IPAB — along with the entire federal health care law — should be repealed.

“Looking back, it seems like there wasn’t anything Democrats, including the president, weren’t willing to promise in order to get this bill across the finish line,” McConnell said. “As then-Speaker Pelosi famously said, ‘We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.’

“And one of the things Americans found out about was something called IPAB. There is no judicial or administrative review of the IPAB personnel or recommendations. IPAB isn’t answerable to voters, and it can’t be challenged in the courts. Its main role, as The Wall Street Journal editorial board put it, will be, ‘the inevitable dirty work of denying care.’

“It’s that simple. And, frankly, it’s unacceptable.”

So far, no one has been appointed to IPAB — but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be repealed now, McConnell said.

“This isn’t just a Republican issue. There’s strong bipartisan opposition to it,” he said. “If the president himself doesn’t even want to talk about this law anymore, and even Democrats are sponsoring repeal of parts of their own law in the House, it should be pretty obvious there’s a fundamental problem here.”


Watch a video of House Speaker John Boehner explaining Republicans’ plan to defund and then repeal ObamaCare.

Read H.R. 5.