60 Seconds with... Kathleen Sebelius

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HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius
HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius
Q: Many are skeptical of the “new MedPAC,” the Independent Advisory Board. Is this fair?

A: Critics say it will ration care and put bureaucrats in charge of the healthcare system. Nothing could be further from the truth. The board's work will be transparent, independent and accountable to Congress and the president.

Q: What will the board do?

A: Each year, board members will recommend improvements to Medicare. But there are restrictions. It is expressly prohibited from making recommendations that ration care, raise premiums, reduce benefits or change eligibility for Medicare. These restrictions are clearly spelled out in the law.

Q: How will Congress still have final decisions on any changes?

A: Starting in 2014, Medicare will have specific spending benchmarks. If Congress keeps Medicare spending growth low, nothing will happen with the board's recommendations. If spending growth is too high, and Congress acts to slow it, nothing will happen with the board recommendations.

Q: How does IPAB come into play?

A: Its recommendations would take effect only if Medicare spending growth is out of control and Congress chooses not to act.