The Oct. 9 editorial "The wrong way to fix Obamacare" argued for the survival of the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), because it would reduce wasteful government spending. There is strong bipartisan support for ending the IPAB because it will hurt beneficiaries' access to health care.
The Congressional Budget Office has projected that, when the IPAB is triggered, it would likely achieve its targets by reducing Medicare payments for physician services and treatments. Already, many physicians limit the number of Medicare beneficiaries they see because of the program's comparably low reimbursement rates. Under the IPAB, it could become more difficult for seniors and beneficiaries with disabilities to find a doctor. Indeed, with its indiscriminate approach, the IPAB would cut access to health care for those least able to afford it: retirees and their families.
Democrats and Republicans may have significant disagreements on health policy, but there is a shared belief that Medicare must provide accessible, quality health care to the millions of Americans who depend on the program. The IPAB would undermine that long-standing commitment and should be repealed.
Tommy Thompson, Washington
The writer, a former health and human services secretary, is an adviser at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, which has clients that receive Medicare payments.
Vic Fazio, Washington
The writer, a former Democratic congressman from California, is an adviser at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, which has clients that receive Medicare payments.