ObamaCare’s cost-cutting board — memorably called a “death panel” by Sarah Palin — is facing growing opposition from Democrats who say it will harm people on Medicare.
Former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean drew attention to the board designed to limit Medicare cost growth when he called for its repeal in an op-ed late last month.
Dean was quickly criticized by supporters of the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), who noted his ties to the healthcare industry as an adviser to a major D.C. lobbying firm.
But the former Vermont governor is not the only Democrat looking to kill the panel.
A wave of vulnerable Democrats over the past three months has signed on to bills repealing the board’s powers, including Sen. Mark Pryor (Ark.) and Reps. Ron Barber (Ariz.), Ann Kirkpatrick (Ariz.), Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.) and Elizabeth Esty (Conn.).
All five are considered vulnerable in next year’s election, highlighting the stakes and the political angst surrounding the healthcare measure.
The four House Democrats faced criticism from their party in July after voting with Republicans to delay ObamaCare’s individual and employer mandates — moves widely interpreted as political positioning ahead of 2014.
Two of the lawmakers explained their opposition by suggesting the board would limit care for Medicare patients.
But the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) blasted the four Democrats for “desperately trying to jump off the ObamaCare train.”
The cost-cutting board has been dogged with controversy over the last three years.
Major healthcare interests like the American Medical Association, the American Hospital Association and the pharmaceutical lobby have supported IPAB repeal, saying the panel would cut providers’ pay arbitrarily.
Public awareness of the board shot up last year when Palin called it a “death panel,” connecting the IPAB to her previous attacks on a proposal to encourage end-of-life planning in the Affordable Care Act.
“Though I was called a liar for calling it like it is, many of these accusers finally saw that ObamaCare did in fact create a panel of faceless bureaucrats who have the power to make life and death decisions about healthcare funding,” Palin wrote on Facebook.
Of the many negative predictions made by opponents of ObamaCare prior to its forced passage, I don’t think a one of them has proven yet to be false – and in fact many have already come to fruition, like the ones about employers bumping full timers down to part time status to avoid having to pay the high cost of health care coverage, employers beginning to offer cheaper health insurance plans which means you have to pay a higher deductible and … yes, change your doctor, some employers choosing to pay the penalty for “non-compliance” with ObamaCare rather than offer coverage at all, etc. And now comes the acknowledgement from more and more prominent Democrats that death panels do indeed exist under ObamaCare.
This will be difficult, especially for idealistic Democrats who routinely refuse to see the light, but let’s all say it together now: “Sarah Palin was right.”