Howard Dean: ObamaCare’s Medicare cost ‘rationing body’ will fail

Add former presidential candidate Howard Dean to the list of Democrats supporting the repeal of a controversial Medicare cost-cutting board in President Obama's healthcare law.

Dean, in a Wall Street Journal op-ed Monday, called the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) "essentially a health-care rationing body" and said he believes it will fail.

"There does have to be control of costs in our health-care system. However, rate setting — the essential mechanism of the IPAB — has a 40-year track record of failure," Dean wrote.

ADVERTISEMENT
Healthcare providers staunchly oppose the IPAB, which makes nearly automatic cuts in Medicare's payments to providers if the program's spending grows faster than a certain rate.

Dean represents healthcare industries in his position as a senior adviser at the law and lobbying firm McKenna Long & Aldridge.

In his op-ed, Dean said his experience as governor of Vermont turned him off to government control of healthcare prices.

"What ends up happening in these schemes (which many states including my home state of Vermont have implemented with virtually no long-term effect on costs) is that patients and physicians get aggravated because bureaucrats in either the private or public sector are making medical decisions without knowing the patients," Dean wrote.

Twenty-two Democrats have signed on to GOP bills to repeal the IPAB.

The Congressional Budget Office has said the IPAB will not kick in until at least 2021 because Medicare spending is currently growing at the slowest rate in years. The IPAB is only triggered if Medicare's costs grow too quickly.

President Obama has not nominated anyone to the panel, which technically is supposed to form next year, and any nominees would likely be unable to win Senate confirmation.