Bloomberg View: Why Medicare Needs a Safety Net

It’s a little awkward to defend something that doesn’t yet exist. But the Independent Payment Advisory Board is in danger of being killed before it’s born, thanks to a vote in the House Tuesday, and that would be a mistake — an extremely costly one both for Medicare, the program it’s meant to support, and for the entire federal budget. 

The payment board is meant to apply a brake on rising Medicare spending. If costs grow beyond a certain level, the IPAB is to come up with cuts to bring them down. (After 2017, the cap is 1 percentage point more than the increase in gross domestic product.) Congress could override those cuts, but only with a three-fifths vote

So controversial has this board been since its conception in 2010 as a provision of Obamacare that the president has yet to nominate a single one of its 15 members. Until now, the board hasn’t been needed, because other forces — including the cuts that other aspects of the Affordable Care Act imposed on Medicare, and, to a lesser degree, the recession — have slowed the growth of health-care costs. 

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  • LAAAC is managed by St. Barnabas Senior Services; Funded, in part, by Archstone Foundation.
  • St. Barnabas Senior Services

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