One of the strongest criticisms leveled against Obamacare is that the Democrats’ unpopular health-care overhaul creates multitudinous panels of unelected bureaucrats to regulate decisions once made by doctors in consultation with their patients. Now comes evidence that one such panel, Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), could make cuts which compromise the care of people living with HIV.
While supportive of the health care law, former friend of Bill (Clinton) David Mixner contends that because “nearly 100,000 people with HIV rely on Medicare for coverage“, IPAD “will disrupt the doctor-patient relationship”:
For many people with HIV, finding the right doctor is the most important decision they’ll make. But IPAB is likely to drastically cut reimbursements to physicians, prompting many to leave the Medicare system. Doctors that treat HIV/AIDS are highly trained specialists that are particularly sensitive to payment cuts.
Make no mistake: Pushing HIV specialists out of Medicare will compromise patients’ health. Treating HIV/AIDS is extremely complicated. HIV specialists fight an array of progressive, often life-threatening complications with multiple medications that require close and ongoing monitoring. And since many patients become resistant to their medication over time, treatment regimens must change frequently.
And that’s not the only problem with this unelected bureaucracy. In addition, Mixner finds that “patients and their doctors cannot appeal IPAB’s decisions” while the program lacks adequate congressional oversight. Not just that, “IPAB will scare away funding for medical research.” Read the whole thing.
For all the carping against the American medical system that existed prior to Obamacare, we do know that it delivered myriad medical innovations, including many which have prolonged the lives of people with HIV, allowing them to manage the infection. The more the government meddles, the less likely it will be that researchers find a cure.
Tommy Thompson, who served as the secretary of Health and Human Services in the Bush Administration believes the Board should be repealed. Seems like this is something House Republicans should take up in the next Congress.