House Votes To Repeal Key 'Obamacare' Provision

The House voted Thursday to repeal a central provision of the 2010 health care overhaul, the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB).

The vote was 223 to 181, with seven Democrats voting with most Republicans to abolish IPAB. Ten Republicans voted against the effort to kill IPAB.

The board’s job is to propose cost-saving changes to Medicare if per capita spending on that program exceeds a target, the national income growth rate, plus 1 percent. The IPAB changes would automatically take effect unless Congress blocked them or enacted its own cost-saving measures.

The House vote took place only four days before the Supreme Court begins hearing oral arguments on the constitutionality of other provision of the 2010 law.

Thursday’s vote will have little more than a symbolic election-year effect since if the Senate were to vote on IPAB, Democrats have enough votes to keep it alive.

And the board, which is supposed to have 15 members with expertise in medical care and economics, still exists only on paper: President Obama has not yet nominated anyone to serve on it. Its members are subject to Senate confirmation.

But the White House has issued a veto threat against the House bill, saying it would dismantle IPAB “even before it has a chance to work. The bill would eliminate an important safeguard that… will help reduce the rate of Medicare cost growth responsibly while protecting Medicare beneficiaries….”

The 2010 Affordable Care Act which created the board, says IPAB can’t ration care, restrict benefits, increase the premiums Medicare recipients must pay, or alter the eligibility for Medicare. But it can limit or change payments to doctors, hospitals, hospices, and other providers.

After the vote, the chief proponent of IPAB, Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D- W.V., issued a statement denouncing the move to abolish it.

“Today’s House vote is a good example of what happens when special interests win – seniors lose,” he said. “The Independent Payment Advisory Board was created to protect Medicare for seniors – by improving the quality of Medicare services and by extending the life of Medicare for years to come."

In House debate Wednesday, Rep. Sander Levin, D- Mich., defended IPAB, saying, “For conservatives who talk about the importance of cost containment, they want to repeal an act that has within it not only the seeds of cost containment, but the instrumentalities of it. In fact, they’re beginning to work well enough. That’s why CBO (Congressional Budget Office) says that it’s going to be 10 years before IPAB is triggered.”

But Rep. Dan Lungren, R- Calif., said, “The idea that 15 unelected individuals on the Independent Payment Advisory Board have been empowered by the so-called Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to ration health care for seniors—and that’s for all seniors— is as Orwellian as these titles crafted by the previous Congress to divert attention from what’s really being done here.”

He said that IPAB “raises the most serious ethical concerns about respect for the dignity of our seniors. This is the unfortunate consequence of a world view which favors the notion of bureaucratic expertise and efficiency as a solution to the challenges facing our health care system today.”

The House bill also included a provision to impose a $250,000 cap on noneconomic damages and to limit the contingency fees lawyers can charge in medical malpractice cases.

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  • by Luke Location: NC on Mar 23, 2012 at 04:35 PM
    On Saturday, March 24, 2012, for the Road to Repeal Rally SATURDAY’S ROAD TO REPEAL RALLY IN D.C.! This very important rally is taking place tomorrow in D.C. Confirmed speakers include: Herman Cain, Ken Cucinelli, Steve Bannon, Jim Hoft, Tom Price, Louie Gohmert and others… Government run health care is the best example of everything wrong with the federal government. It is financially reckless. No one knows what it will ultimately cost – or where the money will come from. Additionally, ObamaCare will grow the federal government into every aspect of our lives. It will grow government into a massive bloated bureaucracy making health care decisions that directly affect you. In fact, the federal government must hire more than 17,000 IRS agents to enforce the law. We need to come together to stop Government run health care! ObamaCare is set to be heard by the Supreme Court of the United States the following week and we need your help to send a strong clear message to the big government types who are bent on trampling our personal choice and freedom. The future of America depends on you
  • by Bubba on Mar 23, 2012 at 07:41 AM
    What is the alternative that the GOP is proposing to fix the high cost of health care???? We will all need healthcare at some point in our lives. Even if the only time you use it is when the ambulance is transporting your body to the morgue. Universal Health Care should be a right in the wealthiest country in the world. The times we live in allow for this... If you think you are not already paying for people to use the system for free, then you are as ignorant as the party you represent. Look at the countries with the most happy people. They have universal health care and strong social programs. If you want to spend your life working for the man just you can get the health benefits, instead of living your dream and starting your own business... how is that any more tyranical... Most people who hate their jobs but stay in them and eat crow each and every day do so for the benefits. Wake Up!
  • by Anonymous on Mar 23, 2012 at 06:16 AM
    So you guys think an expensive 15 person committee with no power other than to cut payments to providers is a good thing? All that can do is run doctors out of the field. So limiting how much the lawyers make on lawsuits is a bad thing? Yeah like ambulance chasers are so broke. Nothing government run has ever been affordable. The ACA has already been shown to cost double what the "Used Car Salesman in Chief" said it would. But then, you guys never mind spending OPM.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Mar 23, 2012 at 10:28 AM in reply to
      So fire-protection and police forces, roads, bridges, and defense of our nation are not affordable?
      • reply
        by Another Anonymous on Mar 23, 2012 at 01:04 PM in reply to
        These services, with the exception of defense and some major roadways, should all be provided by the STATE government and paid for with STATE funds, read the constitution and get the FEDERAL government out of our every day lives!!!
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Mar 23, 2012 at 01:26 PM in reply to
        If those items were so affordable, why can we not fund them? In short, no, as they exist they aren't affordable. If they were affordable we wouldn't have to borrow money from China to fund our bloated "budget". (The quotes are because we really don't have a budget, the mantra is just spend it til we run out of paper to print more). Everything the government runs can be done better and cheaper by private industry.
  • by Obama Snake Oil Co Location: Washington on Mar 23, 2012 at 06:10 AM
    Well as Benny Johnson reported, According to Frances Fox Piven: •The Occupy Movement is made up of “All parts of the Left.” •That includes proudly: “Democrats, Socialists, Communists, Anarchists.” •Must all work together because of the “Huge task of transforming America and the world.” •“We are all together” At last weekend’s Left Forum 2012, the annual pep-rally for liberal thought, renown leftist professor and activist Frances Fox Piven shown some light onto the makeup of the current America Left. In this minute of audio, Piven tells the packed auditorium which worldview philosophies embody their movement: “There is room for all of us. Religious leftists, people who think peace is the answer, those who think that wholesome food is what we really need, ecologists and old-fashioned Democrats, Democratic Socialists, Socialists and Communists.” Piven goes on to discuss the major undertaking that the leftist movement is working on and why these ideologies must unite: “We can work together because we have a really huge task before us, transforming America and the World.”
  • by Gary Location: Winterville on Mar 23, 2012 at 06:06 AM
    Why is everyone bashing the GOP? Did you democrat liberals not read the whole story? what did it say about democrat votes? HMMM???? Cant be your guy's fault can it, got to be the other guy.
  • by Anonymous on Mar 23, 2012 at 05:58 AM
    Obamacare is going to cause a Great Depression. We are already spending more than we have. Wake up people! We're borrowing a third of our budget from China and they will stop loaning us money soon. We have to pay it back and we have to fund the socialism put in place by the Democrats. READY TO PAY HALF OF YOUR INCOME TO TAXES? It's probably going to cost you more that that! This is what we get for voting America's enemies into power. Fools! I'm no Republican, but as much as I disapprove of them I have to vote for the good of MY COUNTRY -not for sleazy socialists who say they will give me other people's hard-earned money!
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Mar 23, 2012 at 10:29 AM in reply to
      So you're delusional? You do know socialism is the reasons you can actually drive to work? Don't you?
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Mar 23, 2012 at 01:27 PM in reply to
        This one smells. I need proof backing up your outrageous claim before I believe it.
  • by WOW Location: Beaufort on Mar 23, 2012 at 05:20 AM
    Look y'all. I think we all, and I mean ALL, agree that the healthcare system in this country is broken. But Obambcare, the $2 trillion obomination that got forced down our throats ain't the answer either. It's entorely too costly, and contains provisions that I'm not sure are legal constitutionally. And when it's chief drumbeater (Pelosi) tells those that question it "you'll have to pass it to find out what's in it", I have seroius doubts about its sincerity.
    • reply
      by For Real on Mar 23, 2012 at 08:01 AM in reply to WOW
      Count Pelosi is very scary! Obama care is just communist government control.
  • by jim Location: raleigh on Mar 23, 2012 at 05:11 AM
    If you would take the time and read the health care bill,you will find out thinks that will scare you. One of the provisions is if you can't pay your hosptial bill the government cango into all your bank accounts and collect the money you have. I have a heart doctor who told me the other day that after next year a patient can't have a stress test starting in 2014. I am telling you read the bill.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Mar 23, 2012 at 07:37 AM in reply to jim
      Please copy and paste the exact line in the bill that says that.
      • reply
        by REM on Mar 23, 2012 at 09:48 AM in reply to
        H.R. 3590: Pages 58-77, you can read it yourself. And a summary to go along with it:
        • reply
          by Anonymous on Mar 23, 2012 at 10:34 AM in reply to REM
          That really isn't nearly as bad as you made it out to be. It just says that if insurance is required and you're not paying it they can take the amount you owe from your bank account. They already do this with your tax-refunds. If you owe taxes, they just take it out of your refund check. It also, nowhere in there says that if you can't pay your hospital bill that the government can go into your bank accounts and collect the money. So that's just blatantly false.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Mar 23, 2012 at 11:25 AM in reply to jim
      They do that now!!!! Better not have a parent in a nursing home with property, if the bill is not paid, they take the property.
  • by Anonymous on Mar 23, 2012 at 05:09 AM
    Face it folk, Obamacare will be upheld by the Supremes, this is the start of a dictatorship. If they can force you to buy health insurance, the possibilities are endless on what they will be able to force you to buy. Many people will no longer have any money to spend, for food, housing, clothes, etc., as insurance will take everything they have. But won't it be great, everyone will have health insurance, but many will be dependent on the government (aka taxpayers) to support them.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Mar 23, 2012 at 07:38 AM in reply to
      They are not forcing you to buy health insurance. You can opt out by paying an additional tax. And it's for the betterment of the country, it's stupid for anybody to not have insurance, regardless of how much money you make. It's just a sensible thing to do.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Mar 23, 2012 at 11:23 AM in reply to
      They said the same thing about Car Insurance....
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Mar 23, 2012 at 01:13 PM in reply to
        Car insurance is optional, are you required to buy a car? Yes, anonymous @10:38, they are FORCING you to either buy health insurance or pay the "additional tax", aka fine, for which you receive NOTHING. Go ahead and socialize medicine, then see how many people go into the medical profession when they are paid a pittance of what they deserve. You think the waiting lines are bad now in medical facilities, LOL. I could go on and on and on but you liberals are so blind to the truth, you wouldn't understand the facts anyway. What a bunch of dummies!!!!
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Mar 23, 2012 at 01:28 PM in reply to
        The difference is that they allow auto insurance to be traded across state lines, increasing competition and driving down costs. If they would do the same thing with health insurance there wouldn't be a need for the ACA.
  • by Obama Snake Oil co Location: Washington on Mar 23, 2012 at 05:07 AM
    You DNC suckers. The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on the constitutionality of the national health care law next week, and the number of voters who Strongly Support the law’s repeal is now at an eight-month high. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of Likely U.S. Voters shows that 56% at least somewhat favor repeal of the health care law, including 46% who Strongly Favor it. Thirty-nine percent (39%) oppose repeal, with 29% who are Strongly Opposed.
    • reply
      by Barlow on Mar 23, 2012 at 07:40 AM in reply to Obama Snake Oil co
      Supreme Court decisions are not based on public opinion, or shouldn't be, they are based on the law. If the Supreme Court determines that this law is unconstitutional then so is Social Security and Medicare. Both of these programs, like the Affordable Care Act, require participation.
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