It has been some months now since liberals had themselves an orgiastic field day over conservative fears that Obamacare included what were unfortunately nicknamed Death Panels. The discussion, and the issue, died when our oh-so-political president, ever with his finger diligently testing the political winds, decided to drop the controversial Advance Care Planning Consultation proviso of the original Obamacare proposed legislation.
But now, like the mythological Phoenix, the issue has shaken off its ashes and once more taken wing; this time as part of the administration’s plan to “reform” Medicare, which in turn is a part of their proposals aimed at achieving reductions in the federal deficit. Dubbed the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), this time, according to an opinion piece written by Andrea Tantaros and published in The New York Daily News, the panel will consist of, “15 unelected bureaucrats who will have unchecked, binding power in the interest of supposedly greater efficiency and lower costs. That means that instead of you or your doctor making decisions about your care, a group of Washington micromanagers will do it for you.” According to the plan, savings will be achieved by slashing reimbursements to physicians and hospitals and by restricting end-of-life patients’ care by means of predetermined cost caps.
Opposition to the IPAB proposal is bipartisan; Rep. Peter Stark (D-CA) termed the Advisory Board a, “dangerous provision [that] sets [Medicare] up for unsustainable cuts.” Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-PA), vice-chair of the New Democrat Coalition, wrote to her colleagues calling on them to support repealing IPAB altogether.
Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.