THE GRAND OLD POSEURS

In today’s American Spectator, I vent my spleen on John Boehner and Mitch McConnell for their empty posturing regarding IPAB:

Last week, Speaker of the House John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell ostentatiously announced their intention to fight implementation of the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB). They sent a letter to the President decrying the way IPAB will ‘impact America’s seniors … in the absence of the democratic process.’

Sadly, the exercise was a charade. McConnell and Boehner know perfectly well that Obama has no intention of setting up IPAB until after 2015.

Why not? Well, IPAB comes into play only if Medicare costs increase at a certain rate above the Consumer Price Index … As it happens, that is precisely what his new CMS actuary has reported. On April 30, acting actuary Paul Spitalnic advised his boss that “the projected 5-year Medicare per capita growth rate” won’t hit the trigger amount that would require the intervention of IPAB.

Boehner and McConnell have no doubt been planning for some time to make IPAB an issue in the 2014 midterms, and were caught flat-footed.

It’s time these hacks were put out to pasture. To read the rest of the column, click here.

Comments 1

  1. Bob Hertz wrote:

    Damn few people understand that Medicare spending has two sources of growth –

    a. demographics, i.e. people turning 65 plus those who are on disability for 2 years;

    and

    b. per capita spending growth, i.e. we now spend almost $12000 per Medicare recipient.

    Even if item B is defeated, a rather heroic achievement, sheer demographics will push Medicare spending to $800 billion a year by 2022.

    I have been saying for several years now that we cannot finance transplants on 80 year olds with just payroll taxes on dishwashers.

    Medicare is going to need a lot more money no matter what the IPAB does or does not do.

    Which leads me to another area I have been researching.

    Medicare does spend a few billion on back surgeries or carotidectomies of questionable effectiveness. That is what IPAB is going to focus on.

    But from a budget point of view, Medicare spends almost $300 billion a year on dialysis, transplants, and open heart surgery. These are things which do work– so IPAB will not challenge them.

    But can we afford them?

    Bob Hertz, The Health Care Crusade

    Posted 13 May 2013 at 8:22 pm

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