Two House committees meet this week to mark up a bill repealing the Independent Payment Advisory Board, an executive-branch board with control over Medicare prices that even Democrats don't like. A bill from Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn., to repeal IPAB has 19 Democratic cosponsors.
The 15-member IPAB garners ire on Capitol Hill because it can cut Medicare payment rates to doctors and hospitals without congressional approval. To override the board, Congress must pass its own equivalent cut with a supermajority.
Congress doesn't have a great track record when it comes to Medicare prices. One easy example: the sustainable growth rate that controls Medicare physician payments. Democrats and Republicans want to get rid of it, but can't agree how to do it. Should the executive branch get to control Medicare pricing? The executive branch controls the money supply through the Federal Reserve - is IPAB really that different?