House committee votes to repeal Medicare payment board

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The House Energy and Commerce Committee voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act's Medicare payment board Tuesday morning.

The Independent Payment Advisory Board — which opponents have termed the “death panel” or “rationing” board — was designed by the healthcare reform law to act as a cost-control measure. While many Republicans are against IPAB, Democrats argue that it's a more effective way to reign in costs.

The board was expected to launch in 2014, and observers say that because Congress must certify its members, its implementation isn't assured even if it is repealed, The Hill reports. House leaders hope to time a vote on the IPAB's repeal on the House floor with the Supreme Court's arguments over the ACA, which is scheduled for mid-March.

The American Medical Association applauded the committee's vote.

“The AMA has actively supported repeal of the IPAB because it would add to the problems caused by the broken Medicare physician payment formula,” AMA President Peter W. Carmel, M.D.,  said in a statement. “The IPAB would have far too little accountability and the ability to make across-the-board Medicare cuts.”

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