AMA Wire

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

This Week's News

Legislation tackling IPAB, liability reform headed to U.S. House next week

Legislation tackling IPAB, liability reform headed to U.S. House next week

Congress is expected to turn its attention next week to AMA-supported legislation that would repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB). Both the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce and the U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means successfully reported the legislation last week.

In order to pay for the estimated $3.1 billion cost of repealing the IPAB, the bill is expected to be paired with significant medical liability reform legislation. The HEALTH Act, sponsored by Rep. Phil Gingrey, MD, R-Ga., incorporates a wide range of AMA-supported reforms, including a $250,000 cap on non-economic damages.

The IPAB is a group of 15 appointees that would have considerable power to implement harmful, across-the-board Medicare payment cuts but very little accountability. The AMA continues to argue that it would only add to the problems caused by the broken Medicare physician payment formula. The AMA sent a letter supporting the repeal bill Feb. 27.

The full U.S. House of Representatives is expected to consider the combined bill, known as the "Protecting Access to Healthcare Act," sometime next week.