Poll: IPAB best of options

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In contrast to providers' preference, more Americans want an independent payment board to make decisions about Medicare spending, rather than leaving the current system as is.

That's according to a new poll on the controversial new Independent Payment Advisory Board. The panel was created under a provision of the Affordable Care Act, the sweeping 2010 reform law.

The independent board (IPAB) would take the lead on many Medicare decisions, which not surprisingly has drawn criticism from lawmakers in both major parties.

Providers oppose the panel largely because they have successfully lobbied lawmakers against many payment cutbacks in recent years. Some of that leverage would go away.

The board would comprise a panel of health experts appointed by the president and approved by Congress.

Members of both parties have argued that IPAB would ration care. But a new tracking poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 50% of people polled said they would trust an independent panel “a great deal” or a “fair amount.”

On the other hand, only 40% of those surveyed ascribe the same degree of trust to the agency that currently operates Medicare. According to the survey, Americans trust Congress and private insurers to the same degree — 34%.