House votes to repeal IPAB, AMA cheers

The House has voted, 244-154, in favor of a bill that repeals the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), a cost-cutting panel first created as part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The vote comes less than a week after the House voted to repeal another piece of the ACA, the 2.3% medical device tax.

H.R. 1190, the Protecting Seniors' Access to Medicare Act of 2015, had some level of bipartisan support, with 11 Democrats voting in favor of repeal. Rep. David Roe (R-Tenn.) was the bill’s sponsor.

The original purpose of the IPAB was to determine cuts to Medicare if spending was to rise above certain levels. As those levels have not yet been reached, the IPAB has never met, and its members have not been determined.

The American Medical Association has long been opposed to the IPAB, posting detailed information about the board on its website and calling it “one of the most controversial provisions” of the ACA.

“We believe that the IPAB policy would reduce access to care for millions of seniors and applaud Representative Phil Roe, MD, for his tremendous work and leadership on this issue,” Steven J. Stack, MD, AMA president, said in a statement after the vote was announced. “Similar to the Sustainable Growth Rate formula that was repealed in April, the IPAB would be a rigid and short-sighted system that relies solely on arbitrary payment cuts that would hinder efforts to improve quality and health outcomes and make Medicare more sustainable.”

At this time, the Senate has taken no action related to the IPAB.