Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Obamacare challenge: it's not just the individual mandate!

Challenging the Death Panel

Also working its way through the courts is another Obamacare challenge brought by the Goldwater Institute in Arizona that not only challenges the individual mandate, but also challenges the constitutionality of the Medicare Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) also adopted by Obamacare.

That board will be composed of 15 unelected bureaucrats with the power to cut payments to doctors and hospitals under Medicare to keep the program within specified spending targets. Though its backers deny it, IPAB was designed to be a federal rationing authority analogous to the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE), which decides who can live or who can die under British socialized medicine. The IPAB merely needs to severely cut, or deny altogether, payments for treatments it decides are not in the public interest, regardless of what you or your doctors think.

That should be unconstitutional on many grounds. But what the Goldwater Institute has focused on is the isolation of the board from democratic, executive or judicial accountability.

The rulings of this board will automatically go into effect unless two-thirds of Congress overrides them with Medicare cuts of its own of equal magnitude. The Obamacare law provides that the decisions of the board cannot be challenged in the courts. And the board is even shielded from executive oversight.
Obamacare Is Going Down

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