Bipartisan legislation to repeal the healthcare law’s cost-control board sailed through a House panel on Wednesday, raising pressure on the Senate to take up the bill and dealing President Obama a political blow.
The Energy and Commerce Health subcommittee vote was 17-5, with ranking member Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.) and Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.) crossing the aisle to vote for repeal of the Independent Payment Advisory Board. There were no amendments.
Votes in the full committee and on the House floor have not yet been scheduled but are expected to happen by the end of next month, in conjunction with Supreme Court arguments on the healthcare reform law.
The IPAB is a critical component in ObamaCare’s claims of cost control, one that we have discussed here at Hot Air on a number of occasions over the last two years. The panel of fifteen unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats would essentially ration Medicare funds, deciding on which care to approve or reject. Congress would have to overturn IPAB decisions by a supermajority voteto keep them from going into effect rather than having a panel present recommendations for Congressional action.
Towns and Pallone are not the only House Democrats to have opposed the IPAB, either. If Republicans pick up more Democratic support on repealing IPAB, it may be difficult for Harry Reid to ignore it in the Senate, especially with so many red-state Democrats defending their seats in this cycle. And if the IPAB gets repealed by Congress, Obama can certainly veto the bill — but he’ll have to endure the criticism over the IPAB all over again, this time with Democrats agreeing with Republicans that it represents a radical attempt to ration care rather than fix the system to provide more options for seniors.