Poll: More Americans favor independent Medicare payment board over Congress

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Bill proposes SNF readmissions penalties, bundled payments
Bill proposes SNF readmissions penalties, bundled payments

More Americans prefer letting an independent payment board make decisions about Medicare spending than continuing to leave the decisions to Congress, a new poll finds.

A controversial provision of the Affordable Care Act calls for the creation of an Independent Payment Advisory Board to make decisions about Medicare spending, pending the additional approval of Congress. The IPAB has drawn criticism from Republicans and Democrats. In accordance with the ACA, 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% those polled said they would trust an independent panel “a great deal” or a “fair amount.” According to the survey, 40% of Americans said they would trust Congress “a great deal” or “a fair amount,” with 31% reporting that they would not trust Congress “at all” in making decisions about Medicare spending. 

Supporters of the independent board point out that lawmakers might be reluctant to support it because it could largely siphon Medicare spending power out of their hands. The board has been likened to the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) — with a major difference being MedPAC serves only in an advisory role and its recommendations are often ignored, much to long-term care providers' relief.

As to whether Americans support the expansive ACA overall, 42% of respondents had a favorable view of the reform, while 46% viewed it negatively.
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