While efforts continue at the Supreme Court to get the individual mandate in ObamaCare declared unconstitutional and the entire law thrown out, a House committee voted on a bipartisan basis to kill its so-called “death panel.” On a 17-5 vote that included two of the senior Democrats on the Health subcommittee of Energy and Commerce, the motion to repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board will move to the full committee and almost certainly to the House floor:
Bipartisan legislation to repeal the healthcare law’s cost-control board sailed through a House panel on Wednesday, raising pressure on the Senate to take up the bill and dealing President Obama a political blow.
The Energy and Commerce Health subcommittee vote was 17-5, with ranking member Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.) and Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.) crossing the aisle to vote for repeal of the Independent Payment Advisory Board. There were no amendments.
They weren’t the only Democrats favoring a repeal, either:
Rep. Lois Capps (D-Calif.) said she favors getting rid of the board but wouldn’t because the repeal bill offered no alternative for controlling Medicare costs and wasn’t paid for.
Capps’ argument cuts to the heart of the issue. The IPAB is a critical component in ObamaCare’s claims of cost control, one that we have discussed here at Hot Air on a number of occasions over the last two years. The panel of fifteen unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats would essentially ration Medicare funds, deciding on which care to approve or reject. Congress would have to overturn IPAB decisions by a supermajority vote to keep them from going into effect rather than having a panel present recommendations for Congressional action.
If anyone doubts the nature of the IPAB, then-OMB director Peter Orszag made it pretty clear in 2010 — after ObamaCare passed Congress:
Towns and Pallone are not the only House Democrats to have opposed the IPAB, either. If Republicans pick up more Democratic support on repealing IPAB, it may be difficult for Harry Reid to ignore it in the Senate, especially with so many red-state Democrats defending their seats in this cycle. And if the IPAB gets repealed by Congress, Obama can certainly veto the bill — but he’ll have to endure the criticism over the IPAB all over again, this time with Democrats agreeing with Republicans that it represents a radical attempt to ration care rather than fix the system to provide more options for seniors.