In advance of the Supreme Court considering the constitutionality of the Democrats' sweeping health care law next week, the House voted today to repeal a provision of that bill that would create a panel charged with finding ways to bring down health care costs.
The 15-member, presidentially-appointed committee, known as the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), is scheduled to begin recommending cost-control measures for Medicare in 2014. Republicans argued the yet-to-be-established panel is a rationing board that would bypass congressional authority and punt on true Medicare reform.
Congressman Phil Roe (R-TN), a former physician, said during House Floor debate that"we don't want Washington-based bureaucrats getting in between the doctor-patient relationship. Decisions should not be made by health insurance and not 15 bureaucrats in Washington. It should be made between a doctor and their family."
The bill passed the House by a vote of 223 to 181, with seven Democrats voting with all but ten Republicans.
Following the vote, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) noted the two year anniversary of passage of the health care law.
"This week alone, what do we find out from the Congressional Budget Office? It's going to cost $1.8 trillion," he said. "We also found out that 20 million more Americans are going to lose their employer based health care. That's why today on the floor you saw a bipartisan vote to repeal IPAB."
While many Democrats support the repeal of IPAB, almost all opposed today's bill. That's because Republicans attached medical liability reform to the package that would cap economic damages at $250,000.
It's unlikely the bill will gain traction. The Democratic-controlled Senate has enough votes to protect IPAB from repeal, and the White House threatened to veto the bill earlier this week.
Tomorrow marks the two year anniversary of President Obama's signing The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into law.
Democratic leadership spent the week touting the health care law and applauding President Obama for passage, though the president has no plans to celebrate the health care bill's anniversary.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Thursday the bill would hold up the Supreme Court challenge, which begins Monday.
"We knew what we were doing when we passed this bill," Pelosi said. "It is iron-clad constitutionally."