ROSEN SENDS LETTER URGING SENATE LEADERSHIP TO TAKE UP BIPARTISAN LEGISLATION TO PROTECT SENIORS’ ACCESS TO MEDICARE
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Today, Congresswoman Jacky Rosen (NV-03) sent a letter urging Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to take up bipartisan legislation to repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) before the end of the year:
“Repealing the Independent Payment Advisory Board is a commonsense step that Congress can take now, before the end of the year, to improve our health care system and protect our seniors,” said Rosen. “If IPAB were to go into effect, it could lead to lower Medicare reimbursement rates, resulting in fewer doctors accepting Medicare and ultimately reducing health care access for our seniors. Republicans and Democrats agree that ending this unpopular provision is necessary to protect our seniors, and I believe that now is the time for Congress to strengthen Medicare and ensure Nevadans have access to quality, affordable health care.”
BACKGROUND: Congresswoman Rosen is a co-sponsor of H.R. 849, the Protecting Seniors’ Access to Medicare Act of 2017, which would eliminate the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB). The bill passed the House by a vote of 307-111, with Rep. Rosen voting for the legislation. IPAB was created as part of the Affordable Care Act as a means of limiting Medicare costs. Unfortunately, the board’s structure and mandate give it few options other than cutting Medicare reimbursement rates, which would likely lead to rationed care for seniors.
Read text of the letter here or below:
December 6, 2017
Charles E. Schumer
United States Senate
322 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Leader Schumer,
We are writing today to urge you to include repeal of the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) in must-pass legislation by the end of the year.
Originally created under the Affordable Care Act, there have always been concerns with IPAB. This was made clear last month when the repeal of IPAB passed the House 231-111, with 76 Democrats voting in favor of repeal.
While we remain dedicated to addressing Medicare’s solvency and cost of health care for the program’s beneficiaries, we do not believe that mandating an unelected, uncountable board to make recommendations for a specified level of cuts is the best way to go about this.
Because the board’s recommendations would have to be reviewed, rejected, and replaced with proposed cuts of equal value by Congress within mere weeks, we do not believe it is an appropriate mechanism in determining significant changes to Medicare. It is our job to ensure that seniors have access to the care that they need when they need it, and we believe that the board impedes that sacred responsibility.
Even more concerning is the possibility that there are no Senate confirmed board members, as is currently the case, and therefore the Secretary of Health and Human Services would have the power to unilaterally recommend cuts to Medicare. Regardless of the Administration, this blanket authority to indiscriminately slash Medicare is inappropriate and will hurt senior’s access to the care that they deserve.
For these reasons, we urge you to work to ensure that H.R. 849, the Protecting Seniors Access to Medicare Act, is included in must-pass legislation considered by Congress before the end of the year.
Thank you for your consideration and continued work to preserve and improve Medicare, and we look forward to continuing to work with you to strengthen it.