NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Another Lawsuit Challenging Obamacare

December 9, 2014

Among the many lawsuits challenging Obamacare is Coons v. Lew, a case contending the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) -- a creation of the Affordable Care Act -- is unconstitutional.

IPAB is a 15-person board whose job is to make recommendations to keep Medicare costs down. Senator Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Congressman Phil Roe (R-Tenn.) explain how the board works:

  • To control Medicare costs, Medicare must lower reimbursements to doctors or make fewer services eligible for Medicare reimbursement.
  • The president appoints the 15 members, but the Health and Human Services secretary can exercise IPAB's powers if the Senate doesn't confirm the IPAB nominees.
  • IPAB can only issue "recommendations," but those recommendations become law unless they are blocked by Congress.
  • IPAB's actions are protected from judicial review.

The plaintiffs in Coons v. Lew have asked the Supreme Court to hear their case, calling IPAB "a group of unelected and unaccountable administrative officials who exercise an unprecedented amount of unchecked authority over the health care industry."

Source: Tom Coburn and Phil Roe, "A Bad Provision Even by ObamaCare Standards," Wall Street Journal, December 3, 2014.


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