Wednesday, March 28, 2012
This Week's News
This Week's News
U.S. House passes bill to repeal IPAB, enact proven medical liability reforms
Passing by a vote of 223–181 in the U.S. House of Representatives last week, the AMA-supported Preserving Access to Healthcare Act would eliminate the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) and institute national medical liability reforms.
The AMA has long urged Congress to repeal the IPAB, a powerful group of 15 appointed individuals with very little accountability who could make across-the-board Medicare payment cuts.
"While the AMA continues to support the [Affordable Care Act], including expanded health coverage and insurance market reforms, elimination of the IPAB is an important change that must be made," AMA President-elect Jeremy Lazarus, MD, said in a statement. "Ending the ongoing threat of drastic cuts from the physician payment formula and preventing new cuts from IPAB are important first steps to stabilize the Medicare system for patients."
The wide range of medical liability reforms contained in the legislation include a $250,000 cap on noneconomic damages.
"We know that these reforms are already working in states such as California and Texas, and implementing them on the federal level will help reduce costs and preserve access to physician care for all patients," Dr. Lazarus said.
The House also approved a number of amendments, including the extension of liability coverage to on-call and emergency room physicians under the Federal Tort Claims Act and limited civil liability protection to health care professionals who volunteer at federally declared disaster sites.