Are Death Panels Still Alive?

“Five years after the passage of the Affordable Care Act, one of the most controversial initiatives created under the healthcare law has no money, no members, and increasingly, at least in the near-term, no purpose,” the Morning Consult reports.

“The Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), sometimes referred to as ‘death panels’ by some conservatives who have argued that it bestows powers to unelected officials that belong to Congress and could lead to rationed care for the elderly, has seen its raison d’etre swept away under an avalanche of good news.”

“Until recently, Congress knew only two ways to discuss Medicare, and that was in terms of the entitlement program nearing insolvency and the outsized percentage of the federal budget that it encompassed. IPAB was created to control Medicare spending costs by giving the 15-member panel the power to cut doctor payments under the program – a dramatic and near impossible feat for Congress to achieve on its own – whenever the per-person costs surpass the average of two consumer pricing indexes.”

“But the IPAB became a political lighting rod during the 2010 elections, and Republicans effectively neutered the panel by slashing its budget and signaling to the White House that it would have a tough time confirming any appointees it might send before the Senate Finance Committee.”

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