House Passes IPAB Repeal and Medical Malpractice Reform Despite States' Rights Concerns

March 23, 2012

On the eve of the second anniversary of PPACA’s enactment, the House passed by a 223 to 181 vote the Protecting Access to Health Care Act (H.R. 5), which would repeal the health care reform law’s Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) and cap medical malpractice awards, though the latter did not have the united support of Republicans.  The IPAB panel, a key PPACA cost control measure created to limit Medicare reimbursement rates, has drawn the ire of congressional Republicans from the beginning.  However, over a dozen Republicans refused to support the measure because the medical malpractice reform provision would interfere with "states' rights" by creating federal damage caps and possibly preempting state laws.  While the legislation is not expected to be considered by the Senate and President Obama has stated that he would veto the bill, the House vote to repeal IPAB is yet another example of how the more beneficial aspects of PPACA such as cost and quality controls and delivery system reforms have been subject to attack and drawn weak support.