You are here

IPAB Repealed - A Victory for Vascular Surgeons, Patients

Legislative Wins Show Power of Grassroots Letters

WASHINGTON UPDATE: The Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) has been repealed – an action long sought by the SVS and other patient and physician groups – as a result of the two-year budget agreement signed into law Friday, Feb. 9. The legislation included repeal language. 

The SVS and other groups have opposed the IPAB since it was included in the 2010 Affordable Care Act. The SVS Washington office has supported bipartisan repeal legislation in both the House of Representatives and the Senate and urged our members to write letters advocating for repeal.  

In addition, the SVS Washington office was very active in an IPAB repeal coalition and met with many members of Congress about the negative consequences of this issue for vascular surgeons and their patients.

Congress has always played an essential role in shaping Medicare payment policies to meet the needs of their constituents, ensuring that the health care system is equipped to care for diverse populations. The IPAB would have taken power away from elected representatives to determine these policies and put it in the hands of 15 unelected, unaccountable board members – none of whom could be practicing physicians – appointed solely by the President. If the IPAB failed to report recommendations or never became operational, the power would have rested in the hands of a single person – the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.

Particularly with the passage of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act, vascular surgeons are committed to improving the value and cost-effectiveness of health care for Medicare beneficiaries; the IPAB was not a suitable mechanism for these goals. 

The budget agreement also reduced the Physician Fee Schedule conversion factor for 2019 from 0.5 percent to 0.25 percent, which is more favorable than extending the “mis-valued codes” provision for one additional year.

The SVS wishes to thank members who contacted their members of Congress in opposition to the IPAB and extending mis-valued codes. Both of these issues illustrate the power of grassroots letters.