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October 29, 2010 8:12 AM
America under ObamaCare, Day 220: Delayed disaster for seniors
Posted by Staff
Politics Daily reports:

President Obama's health care reform law continues to be unpopular, especially among seniors, and will likely play a major role in Tuesday's elections.

According to a Kaiser Health Tracking poll, "about a third (32 percent) of seniors hold favorable views [of the health care reform bill, and] half (52 percent) [hold] unfavorable views."

The opposition from what will likely be the largest bloc of midterm voters has probably cost the Democrats the House, and several senate seats, as well.

To be sure, some of the concerns seniors have with the law may not drastically differ from the concerns of people in other age groups. For example, some may simply worry about the growth of government. But is there more to it?The Obama administration has always sworn there are no cuts to Medicare benefits in the new law. But seniors pay close attention to changes in their benefits. And the seniors who are paying especially close attention to health care policy know something about Obamacare that most Americans don't.

As it turns out, starting in 2015, decisions on how to cut costs in Medicare will be made by a 15-member Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), which is set to become the all-knowing, all-powerful price control.

According to Peter Ferrara and Larry Hunter, writing in the Wall Street Journal:
... there will be additional cuts to Medicare adopted by bureaucrats at the Medicare Independent Payment Advisory Board. ObamaCare empowers this board to close Medicare financing gaps by adopting further Medicare cuts that would become effective without any congressional action.

Obviously, Medicare's unfunded liabilities are cause for concern, and the program is in need of structural reform. But even for the most ardent budget hawk, the IPAB seems a bridge too far.

The board, consisting of 15 "experts" appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate, would operate largely without congressional oversight. The board's decisions on Medicare reimbursements would become law unless a three-fifths "super majority" of Congress takes action to overturn them. And the board's decisions are not up for review by any court of law.

Criticism of the board is not exclusive to Republicans. As The Hill reported, "liberal Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.) -- the chairman of the Ways and Means Health subcommittee -- has called it a 'dangerous provision' that 'sets [Medicare] up for unsustainable cuts' and endangers patients' health."
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