House Preps Pre-SCOTUS IPAB Repeal Vote With Eye On Doc Relationship

Republicans are not united in their attempted repeal of the Independent Payment Advisory Board, which will come up for a vote in the House this week. In the meantime, the GOP is attempting to mend fences with the American Medical Association by offsetting the cost of repeal with medical malpractice tort reforms.

Politico: GOPers Clash Over Health-Law Repeal
A mix of conservative ideologies came into sharp collision Tuesday as Republicans readied to repeal yet another piece of President Barack Obama's health care law. The problems came when Republicans were preparing legislation to wipe out the Independent Payment Advisory Board, a panel created as part of the Democrats' health care law. Its purpose: Keep Medicare spending down. To pay for repealing that provision costs big money, and Republicans wanted to offset the cost with medical malpractice reform -- something they think can save tens of billions of dollars (Sherman and Palmer, 3/20).

The Hill: Repeal Vote Could Help GOP With Physicians' Lobby
A vote in the House this week on repealing a portion of the health care reform law could go a long way toward helping Republicans mend fences with the American Medical Association (AMA). The powerful physicians' lobby was at loggerheads with Republicans when it endorsed the Democratic health care reform plan in 2009, a rift that persisted after Congress enacted the bill into law (Pecquet, 3/20).

The Associated Press: GOP Targets New Cost-Cut Board In Obama Health Law
Republicans are revamping their strategy against President Barack Obama's health care law: If they can't repeal the whole thing, they'll try to pick off pieces. Starting with a new and unfamiliar bureaucracy. The House is scheduled to vote Thursday to abolish the Independent Payment Advisory Board, a yet-to-be-appointed body created by the law to keep Medicare costs from ballooning. Repeal is expected to easily pass the House but then die in the Senate, where the Democratic majority solidly supports the board (Alonso-Zaldivar, 3/21).

CNN: Health Care Debate Shifts To Medicare Panel
"Everyone who has parents or grandparents on Medicare, you ought to be afraid of this," Rep. Scott DesJarlais, R-Tennessee, told reporters Monday, adding that the [IPAB] panel was "designed to put a Washington bureaucrat between the patient and their doctor." That's not the intent or the reality of the [IPAB], insisted Dr. Donald Berwick, the former administrator of the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. For example, the law targeted by the repeal effort specifically forbids the advisory board from rationing health care to reduce spending. "We're in a very polarized era. It's hard to have rationale conversations with people" on the issue, Berwick told CNN (Cohen, 3/21).

MSNBC: House Moving To Kill Key Provision In 'Obamacare'
In one week, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments surrounding the key provision of the 2010 health care law – the individual mandate. But outside of the courts, efforts in Congress to tinker with the complex and controversial law continue, including a vote this week  to abolish a central piece of the 2010 health care law: the Independent Payment Advisory Board. The intent of the board was to try and take the politics out of Medicare by giving some of its spending decisions to independent experts.  The controversy around the panel’s very existence, however, shows just how difficult that goal will ever be to achieve (Curry, 3/20).

Modern Healthcare: GOP Senators: Cost-Cutting Panel Could Be Appointed Without Lawmakers' Consent
Two Republican health policy leaders warned that the president could appoint the members of a controversial cost-control panel without congressional consent. The warning came as part of a regular report the two Senate Republicans issued Tuesday to predict coming problems with the 2010 federal health care law. Sens. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and John Barrasso of Wyoming, both physicians, cited a Congressional Research Service report that concluded the president is not barred by law from appointing a majority of members of the Independent Payment Advisory Board if none are confirmed by the Senate (Daly, 3/20).

Market Watch: White House Would Veto Bill To End Medicare Panel
The White House said Tuesday that it would veto a House Republican effort to shut down the Independent Payment Advisory Board, a Medicare cost-saving board created by President Barack Obama's health care law. The House bill "would eliminate an important safeguard that, under current law, will help reduce the rate of Medicare cost growth responsibly while protecting Medicare beneficiaries and the traditional program," the Obama administration said in a statement of administration policy (Robb, 3/20).

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