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House Budget Committee Hearing Highlights
The Future of Medicare

An Examination of the Independent Payment Advisory Board

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Washington, July 12, 2011 | comments

WASHINGTON – The House Budget Committee held a hearing today on Medicare’s Future: An Examination of the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB). In her testimony before the committee, the Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius sought to defend IPAB, the board of 15 unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats empowered to control health care decisions impacting millions of America’s seniors.

House Budget Committee Republicans raised concerns with this approach, arguing that giving such unprecedented power to a handful of bureaucrats will inevitably limit seniors’ access to health care services. Members continued to advance reforms that protect those in and near retirement from any disruptions, while offering true choice and competition to strengthen Medicare for future beneficiaries.

Chairman Paul Ryan’s opening statement can be viewed in its entirety here.

Secretary Sebelius Confirms The Irresponsibility of Those Clinging to Medicare’s Unsustainable Quo


RYAN: “I think…we would agree…the current system is unsustainable and has all the wrong incentives - which is part of the reason why it’s driving it toward bankruptcy?”

SEBELIUS: (pause) “I would say that the current fee-for-service system, yes, is unsustainable.”

Paul Ryan: Choice & Competition Work Better Than Government Price Controls


While the unsustainable growth of health care costs was acknowledge by both sides, a sharp contrast emerged throughout today’s hearing on how best to address health inflation.  Secretary Sebelius sought to defend IPAB’s bureaucratic rationing, while Chairman Ryan and the Republican members of the Budget Committee continued to make the case that choice and competition will work better than more government price controls on Medicare.

Secretary Sebelius On Whether Seniors Should Have Control Over Their Health Care Decisions


 Medicare helps provides prescription drug coverage for seniors – known as “Medicare Part D” –harnessing choice and competition to lower costs. Secretary Sebelius, who is in charge of Medicare, was asked whether seniors should still enjoy these kinds of options.

Bureaucrats Can’t Micromanage Health Care Decisions; Patients & Doctors Need Control


Chairman Ryan closed the hearing by explaining that politicians in Washington have tried to re-engineer Medicare with price controls for years. “We sit in Washington and we think we can figure out how to micromanage 17% of our economy and make this all work. All we end up doing is artificial price controls across the board.”

For more from today’s hearing:


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