The UPAB is a panel of 15 healthcare experts tasked with making targeted cuts in Medicare's payments to doctors if the program's overall spending rises beyond a certain level.
Although the IPAB is supposed to be active next year, Obama hasn't yet nominated anyone to the panel. And Medicare hasn't grown rapidly enough over the past few years to trigger the IPAB, even if it had been in effect.
The point of the IPAB was to take Medicare cuts out of Congress's hands, because parochial interests and heavy lobbying can make cuts politically difficult. But lawmakers say they should remain in charge, arguing that an unelected panel shouldn't have the power to make Medicare cuts almost automatically.
“If there’s one thing President Obama has made clear, it’s that he wants the government to play an increasing role in the lives of everyday Americans. But time and again, we’ve seen that more government intrusion means less freedom and less individual choices," Cornyn said in a statement. "The President’s IPAB does exactly that, taking personal health care decisions away from seniors and their families and putting greater power in the hands of unaccountable bureaucrats."