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One of the hot topics of the recent health care reform debate was the creation of the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB).  The board would have the power to implement changes to reduce the growth rate of Medicare, though Congress would have the power to overrule the IPAB decisions.

The Independent Payment Advisory Board would have more power than the existing Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC), which has no regulatory authority. MedPAC’s role was to submit two reports to Congress each year with suggestions for improving Medicare. Congress would then have to vote on and implement those changes.

The Independent Payment Advisory Board would consist of a 15-member panel requiring Senate confirmation.  Members of the panel would be nominated by the President of the United States.  As with any Senate confirmation hearing, a political battle could stall or prevent nominees from getting elected.

The Independent Payment Advisory Board has been a debated substantially among politicians and citizens.  Some opponents refer to it as the Death Panel because they believe that some changes will have a negative impact on Medicare recipients. Proponents see it as a way to remove power from Congressional members and special interests and put it in the hands of those knowledgeable in health care policy. What’s your impression of the IPAB?