Letter: Panel granted too much power



Recent letters supporting the Independent Payment Advisory Board and suggesting that Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Camas, has been misleading are only half-truths. The 2010 health care reform law mandated a cut of $500 million from Medicare in order to expand other entitlements. This reduction should scare seniors. I don’t recall seeing in that media that Medicare reductions are going to be on the backs of our senior citizens.

The “unelected” IPAB was given extraordinary powers to change Medicare, recommendations of rejecting treatments or limiting payments amounts if Medicare spending increased above a pre-determined level. Some troubling concerns about IPAB are that they are not held to any standard for public comment or judicial review. In addition, board members are allowed to “accept, use, and dispose of gifts or donations of services or property” — talk about shark-infested waters we enter with lobbyist influence.

The suggestion that lowering costs would improve care is grossly misleading. In redefining coverage under Medicare, the IPAB might mandate that my aorta aneurism repair is not a necessary medical procedure to be covered, as the cost vs. health risk do not pencil out in the spread sheet.

Wow, I feel much better knowing I was part of reducing cost. But in my eyes that’s not improving care (and my life expectancy).

Ralph Erickson