American Hospital Association Backs Bill to Strike Medicare Panel From Health Law

The American Hospital Association has decided to endorse a bill that would eliminate a key provision in the new health care reform law.

Association executive vice president Rick Pollack sent a letter to Sen. John Cornyn, R-Tex., expressing support for Cornyn’s bill to eliminate the Independent Payment Advisory Board. The board was given new powers under the health care law as a way to reduce Medicare costs. It would have the authority to propose cost cutting measures that would become law unless Congress acted to block them. Proponents said the advisory board is needed if the health care law is to shave an anticipated half billion dollars in Medicare costs, but critics have called the board a death panel that would put bureaucrats in charge of critical medical decisions for seniors.

“America’s hospitals support the repeal of IPAB because its existence permanently removes Congress from the decision-making process and threatens the long-time, open and important dialogue between hospitals and their elected officials about the needs of local hospitals and how to provide the highest quality care to their patients and communities,” Pollack said in the letter to Cornyn. “We are deeply concerned that removing elected officials from the decision-making process could result in even deeper cuts to the Medicare program in the future.”

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