House GOPers Fighting For Your Medicare

So according to Sam Baker of The Hill, House GOPers paused briefly from their 24-7 campaign to insist the president and congressional Democrats propose cuts in entitlement benefits if they want the debt limit to be increased any time soon in order to throw a big monkey-wrench into the one existing effort to hold down Medicare costs:

House Republicans signaled Thursday they will not follow rules in President Obama’s healthcare law that were designed to speed Medicare cuts through Congress.

The House is set to vote Thursday afternoon on rules for the 113th Congress. The rules package says the House won’t comply with fast-track procedures for the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) — a controversial cost-cutting board Republicans have long resisted.

The rules package signals that Republicans might not bring up Medicare cuts recommended by the IPAB — blocking part of a politically controversial law, and resisting Medicare spending cuts.

The rules could be challenged in court, because they seek to override a law that Congress passed, but unless that happens, the House can likely abide by the rules it adopts Thursday.

Amazing, but not that surprising. Having medagogued the IPAB–which Sarah Palin notoriously labeled a “death panel”–and the health care cost savings it was charged with securing not just by Obamacare but by earlier Republican legislation, it figures House Republicans would make this the first step to obstruct implementation of ACA, despite the massive hypocrisy involved.

What’s really maddening is that IPAB–following the overall thrust of Obamacare–is designed to secure savings not just for Medicare but for the entire health care system by encouraging better medicine, not reductions in health coverage for seniors. It seems Republicans are only interested in health care cost containment measures or “entitlement reform” if it comes at the expense of beneficiaries.

I know the White House is probably touchy about IPAB given its phony reputation as a heath care rationer, but they need to raise holy hell about this, and yes, go to court to stop it. We will never get hold of health care costs at any level if we continue to pretend the only choices are an endless cost spiral or constantly reduced benefits.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.