IPAB repeal to be tied to malpractice legislation

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House Republicans plan to tie the repeal of the Independent Payment Advisory Board to medical malpractice legislation when Congress resumes next week.

The bill to repeal IPAB, H.R. 452, passed both the House Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means committees last week.

Repealing the board is expected to cost the federal government $3 billion, and Republicans plan to offset this cost by tying it to a bill that limits damages for medical malpractice cases. H.R. 5's provisions include a $250,000 cap on noneconomic damages, establishing a time limit on malpractice claims and putting a limit on attorney contingency fees. The CBO said H.R. 5 would reduce healthcare spending by around 0.4%, and the federal deficit by around $40 billion. This would occur through lowered premiums for medical liability insurance and reducing the use of healthcare services prescribed by providers worried about being sued. These reductions would lead to lower spending by federal health programs, the CBO wrote last year.

Neither bill is expected to gain traction in the Democrat-controlled Senate; the tie to malpractice legislation likely means the loss of Democratic support, The Hill reported.

The Congressional Budget Office estimated last year that repealing IPAB would cost $3.1 billion over 10 years, although it said that Medicare spending has been slowing and the IPAB probably wouldn't have to recommend payment changes until 2022.
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