I am a senior on Medicare with high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol. Like millions of my peers I take medicines daily for both conditions and work hard to prevent anything else from jeopardizing my health.
There are four things I want when I need medical care:
- I want to have access to a provider who is current with the best practices and best treatments available;
- I want my provider to have accurate information about my health, to listen to me when I describe symptoms or ask questions, and to be able to give me the tests I need for diagnosis;
- I want my provider to provide me with the pros and cons of all my options when I receive a diagnosis; and
- I want to have access to the health care services and treatments I need through my Medicare coverage.
Standing squarely in the way of this is something called IPAB, the Independent Payment Advisory Board set up by the health care reform act to make decisions about Medicare spending.
IPAB is made up of unelected bureaucrats who are solely tasked with cutting costs to Medicare. They have no responsibility to maintain quality of care or improve Medicare in any way other than cutting spending. In the coming years, IPAB could determine which procedures and medications are covered by Medicare and ultimately even dictate to doctors what treatments are available to their patients.
Moreover, since IPAB members are not elected, seniors (and voters generally) will have no direct way to fight back against these changes. Even Congress would face huge obstacles in trying to block IPAB’s actions. Truly, IPAB is a Medicare beneficiary’s nightmare. It is not what we signed up for. It is not what we have been promised and it is certainly not what we deserve!
Fortunately, there is strong, bipartisan support in Congress to repeal IPAB and restore the responsibility of ensuring Medicare’s solvency back to the hands of elected officials. This ensures accountability and the ability to exercise your voice.
Over 500 consumer, patient, veteran, provider, and senior advocacy groups are supporting the effort to repeal IPAB. If you believe, as I do, that the decisions impacting your health should be made solely by you and your doctor, then please speak out!