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House Clears IPAB Repeal and Medical Malpractice Reform

March 23, 2012—The House of Representatives March 22 passed the Protecting Access to Healthcare (PATH) Act (H.R. 5) by a vote of 223-181.  The House Rules Committee March 16 amended the previous version of H.R. 5 by incorporating the Medicare Decisions Accountability Act of 2011 (H.R.452), which was approved by the Ways and Means and Energy and Commerce committees in early March [see Washington Highlights, March 9].  The revised PATH Act caps some medical malpractice awards and repeals the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB),  a panel created by the Affordable Care Act (P.L. 111-148 and P.L. 111-152), tasked with making recommendations to Congress that restrain Medicare spending growth.

According to a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimate, the stand-alone IPAB repeal legislation would add $3.1 billion to the deficit; however, packaging the IPAB repeal legislation with Rep. Phil Gingrey’s (R-Ga.) medical malpractice reform bill, which would save $45.5 billion over the same period, more than offsets the IPAB repeal’s cost. While the original IPAB repeal legislation was a bipartisan bill, the decision to couple it with the medical malpractice legislation drove most of the 20 Democrat co-sponsors from voting for the measure.

There is little chance that the IPAB repeal will move forward as the Senate does not currently have the votes to pass the legislation.  Additionally, the Obama administration March 20 released a Statement of Administration Policy (SAP) reaffirming its support for the IPAB and stating, “[t]he Administration is committed to strengthening Medicare, protecting patients, and supporting the physicians who care for them. We believe that this legislation fails to accomplish these goals.” The SAP also indicates that the president’s “senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill.”  


Len Marquez
Director, Government Relations
Telephone: 202-862-6281


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Washington Highlights, a weekly electronic newsletter, features brief updates on the latest legislative and regulatory activities affecting medical schools and teaching hospitals.

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Jason Kleinman
Sr. Legislative Analyst, Govt. Relations
Telephone: 202-903-0806