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News & Press: AAO News

Academy Joins Effort Seeking IPAB Repeal

Monday, June 19, 2017  
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June 15, American Academy of Ophthalmology

The Academy continues to seek a full repeal of the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), a panel of presidential appointees that has the authority to recommend Medicare savings that would go into effect if spending exceeds a certain target growth rate. Actuaries have projected that recent Medicare spending trends could trigger the mandate in 2017, meaning provider payment rate cuts effective in 2019 will be imposed unless Congress acts. The Academy has long-believed that the board's authority, including the ability to arbitrarily enact arbitrary, across-the-board cuts to physicians and other providers, would harm efforts to preserve access to patient care. The Academy recently joined a large group sign-on letter that urges members of Congress to repeal IPAB.

The WAO has signed onto the “Protect My Doctor & Me” coalition letter (link) with over 700 other organizations.

Background
The Affordable Care Act established IPAB, which is a panel of presidential appointees with the ability to arbitrarily enact payment cuts to physicians and other providers if Medicare's growth rate exceeds a statutory threshold. Based on a recent report from CMS' actuary, it was expected that we could reach that threshold within the next few weeks. Earlier this year, Congress eliminated funding for IPAB and, currently, there are no members on the panel. This means that the Department of Health and Human Services would be responsible for determining the Medicare spending cuts. IPAB has garnered bi-partisan opposition in Congress after sustained efforts by the Academy and the physician community. We've shown them how the arbitrary nature of potential cuts could hurt patients. Legislation (H.R. 849, S. 251 and S. 260) has been introduced in both the House and Senate that would repeal IPAB.