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Legislators Want Supreme Court to Rule on ACA Section

Image: Legislators Want Supreme Court to Rule on ACA Section
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By    |   Thursday, 04 Dec 2014 02:28 PM

The controversial "Death panel" or Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) section of the Affordable Care Act has come under new fire from a group of legislators that is filing an amicus curiae brief requesting that the Supreme Court rule on its constitutionality.

Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., and Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn., both physicians, wrote in The Wall Street Journal that they will be filing a brief urging the Supreme Court to take up the case of Coons v. Lew, which challenges the IPAB as an "unconstitutional consolidation of government power in an unelected, unaccountable executive agency," the Goldwater Institute, which is representing the plaintiffs, notes.

Writing in the Journal, Coburn and Roe note that the IPAB "is among the worst and most dangerous" parts of Obamacare, because it is "an administrative agency whose actions cannot be checked by the executive, legislative or judicial branches."

"As physicians, we have taken an oath to do no harm," the legislators write. "As members of Congress, we have taken an oath to uphold the Constitution. Those oaths combine to compel us to take all possible actions to fight an agency that violates the separation of powers and threatens the well-being of millions of Americans," they said.

The IPAB, a 15-member panel yet to be appointed by President Barack Obama, is charged with containing the cost of Medicare, but Coburn and Roe charge that the panel's powers go too far beyond that mission.

"IPAB can control costs by lowering physician reimbursements — thus driving more doctors away from treating Medicare patients — or by reducing the services eligible for reimbursement," they note.

The Goldwater Institute stated that while the IPAB's role is deemed "advisory," it actually is "far from advisory. The board’s actions automatically become law without Congress’s vote, the president’s signature, the public’s input or even the courts’ review."

"The law makes this group of unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats immune from control by the president, Congress or the courts," Christina Sandefur, Goldwater Institute attorney, told the Washington Times.

"Obamacare says that if the president doesn't appoint anyone to the board, the secretary of health and human services, a single unelected official, gets to exercise IPAB's vast powers alone," she wrote. "The president's failure to act, therefore, only worsens IPAB's egregious violations of the Constitution."

"Given its awesome power over a program that touches nearly 50 million Americans, IPAB’s lack of constraints and accountability has raised alarms with advocates for physicians, employers and Medicare beneficiaries," Roe and Coburn wrote.

"The House of Representatives voted on a bipartisan basis to repeal IPAB in 2012, but the Senate failed to act. These efforts will be renewed in the new Congress," they noted.

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The controversial "Death panel" or Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) section of the Affordable Care Act has come under new fire from a group of legislators that is filing an amicus curiae brief requesting that the Supreme Court rule on its constitutionality.
ACA, Tom Coburn, Supreme Court, section
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2014-28-04
Thursday, 04 Dec 2014 02:28 PM
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