Cantor vows bill to repeal health law's contentious board


"If we successfully make the case publicly, bills that could reach the president's desk include ... repeal of IPAB," Cantor wrote. "There are some issues that I suspect Senator Reid will have a difficult time compelling his members to oppose outright." 

IPAB is tasked with cutting Medicare reimbursement rates when the program's per-person spending becomes too great. Conservatives have long argued that the 15-member panel will bring about de facto rationing as Medicare providers limit their services in response to cuts. 

The board's recommendations automatically take effect unless Congress votes to block them and comes up with equivalent savings. There is some question as to whether IPAB will ever exist, however, because its members are nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate, making them vulnerable to GOP filibusters.

The House has already voted once, this spring, to repeal IPAB — a move the Congressional Budget Office estimated would add $3.1 billion to the deficit over 10 years.

Cantor mentioned his desire to pursue a repeal again on Wednesday but named no other healthcare priorities for the new Congress. 

Obama's victory and gains for Democrats in the Senate all but ensure that Republicans' goal of full repeal of the healthcare law will never happen.