Thursday, January 27, 2011

It's Alive! GOPers Resurrect "Death Panels"

No sooner did the Republicans revive their crusade against Democratic health care reform than the law's biggest boogeyman made a comeback as well. With the Senate unlikely to take up the repeal bill that passed the House last week any time soon, the GOP has started going after individual parts of the legislation. Among the first targets is a little-known provision creating an independent Medicare panel whose purpose, Republican critics insist, is to ration care and could speed patients to an early death—in other words, the 2011 incarnation of Sarah Palin's "death panels."

Under federal health reform, the Medicare Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) will be a new, White House-appointed commission with the authority to change what Medicare pays for and how it pays for it—all without direct congressional approval. Many of health reform's biggest supporters have celebrated IPAB, which starts in 2015, as central to the entire law's ability to rein in ballooning Medicare spending. "It's absolutely critical. It's the centerpiece of the bill—the major way that you begin to control costs," Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) tells Mother Jones. But Republicans say the board embodies the most pernicious and outrageous faults of "Obamacare," delegating authority to unelected bureaucrats who could deny care to patients at their most critical moments
More at Mother Jones.

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