On Wednesday, a House of Representatives Energy and Commerce subcommittee voted to approve, and send to the full committee, H.R. 452, the Medicare Decisions Accountability Act of 2011, which “repeal[s] the provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act providing for the Independent Payment Advisory Board.”
In short, 15 Republicans and two Democrats voted to stop the implementation of the Obamacare bureaucracy that Sarah Palin famously termed “death panels.” The Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) would recommend reductions in Medicare payments needed to keep the system within budgetary restrictions. Conservatives such as House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan say it represents nothing less than health care rationing while Obamacare supporters say that IPAB offers needed cost controls and that Congress can override IPAB recommendations or suggest other cuts to keep Medicare solvent. They are both right.
Prior to the vote, the Obama propaganda machine argued in favor of IPAB, claiming (to nobody’s surprise) that Republicans want to “shift costs to seniors and empower insurance companies.” The next ad of Paul Ryan pushing wheel chair–bound Granny off the cliff can’t be far behind. (Isn’t it preferable for reasons both economic and ethical to “shift costs” to those actually using the medical care rather than to their grandchildren? Isn’t what we’re doing now the true cost-shifting? And isn’t it wiser to “empower insurance companies” who have to compete for business rather than empowering the already power-mad Kathleen Sebelius and her officious successors?)