The U.S. House of Representatives this week will be voting on H.R. 452, the “Medicare Decisions Accountability Act of 2011.” This bill would repeal the Medicare rationing board known as “IPAB,” and is part of a full repeal of the jobs-killing Obamacare law.
The harmful Obamacare law created a new and unelected government panel known as “IPAB.” The basic role of IPAB would be to institute price controls and rationing within the Medicare system. This is the same type of wrong-headed price controls attempted in socialized medicine systems throughout the world. It doesn’t work anywhere else, and it won’t work here.
Medicare spending is spiraling out of control. According to CBO’s alternative long-term scenario, the cost of federal health entitlements will grow from 5.6 percent of GDP today, to 9.2 percent of GDP in 2030, to 13 percent of GDP in 2050. Something must be done to control the rate of spending growth in these programs, but an unelected price control board is not it.
Medicare must become a modern health insurance system similar to that available to federal employees, including Members of Congress. Current Medicare beneficiaries and those scheduled to come online to the program in the next decade should get the system which has been promised to them and around which they have already planned their retirement. Changes now would amount to a cruel bait-and-switch for these seniors.
Younger and middle-aged workers should be able to choose from a variety of competing health insurance providers when they enter Medicare. This competition should be what’s expected to drive up innovation and efficiencies and drive down cost. In addition, seniors better able to bear the burden of Medicare costs should be expected to, so that deep cuts to Medicare for less-affluent seniors can be avoided in the future.
The first step in responsibly saving Medicare for future seniors is to remove wrong-headed approaches to Medicare savings which will only result in price controls and rationing.
H.R. 452 is that necessary first step, and it should be supported by all Members of Congress who want to both solve the entitlement crisis and keep promises made to retirees and near-retirees.