Urologists can claim substantial victories as a result of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, signed into law by President Trump in February—including an end to the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), which had been established by the Affordable Care Act to help control Medicare spending.
“That’s a tribute to the tireless work of urologist volunteers who went to Capitol Hill every year and to our staff in Washington, DC,” said Tom Rechtschaffen, MD, chairman of the AUA Legislative Affairs Committee. “This is a huge moment because of the tireless work that they did.”
IPAB’s demise celebrated
Ending the IPAB had been the objective of the AUA as well as the American Association of Clinical Urologists (AACU) and LUGPA, whose leaders hailed its demise.
“While this agency was never empaneled, it served as a looming threat to Medicare reimbursement for independent physicians,” said LUGPA President Neal D. Shore, MD. “We believe that restoring this authority to Congress is the right way to maintain oversight of Medicare costs.”
“Today, along with the stability engendered by having a federal budget that spans more than a few weeks, Medicare payments have an opportunity to achieve some steadiness now that IPAB has been repealed,” said AACU President Patrick McKenna, MD.
The IPAB was to recommend specific savings if Medicare spending per beneficiary was projected to grow faster than certain benchmarks. Congress could have blocked the recommendations, but they did not need congressional approval to take effect. Opponents said that placed too much power in the hands of unelected board members whose decisions could affect their livelihoods.