Recently, a key democrat testified against a major provision of the health care reform law, which is supposed to help with the control of Medicare expenses by encouraging the rationing of care.
The #2 Democrat on the House Budget Committee, Representative Allyson Schwartz of Pennsylvania, is an esteemed voice on issues related to health care policy. The Energy and Commerce Committee Republicans invited Ms. Schwartz to speak at a recent hearing on the reform law’s cost-control panel. She said that the president’s indicated desire to enhance the Independent Payment Advisory Board to pare down Medicare expenses “was one of the reasons” that she spoke out.
Schwartz said, “There are Democrats who also have concerns about the IPAB,” she continued, “and that’s been true from the beginning. I would say on behalf of myself and Democrats who care about this as well, it would be better to repeal this part of the law.”
In April of 2011, President Obama proposed an increase in the authority of the Independent Payment Advisory Board as an alternative to the Medicare overhaul proposed by House Republicans. He laid out his proposal, saying that in as little as twelve years, the deficit would be reduced by as much as four trillion dollars. This would be done primarily by reducing the threshold as the Independent Payment Advisory Board goes into effect under the law and issues recommendations on which Congress must act if the cost of Medicare goes up beyond a specific target.
A former health care executive and current vice president of the New Democrat Coalition, Representative Schwartz is one of eight democrats that have signed on in repeal of the provisions. She said that she has talked with her fellow democrats in Congress as well as the White House regarding her intention, making it clear that she is staying strong as an advocate of the health care reform law.