IPAB Controversy and Confusion Continues: Committee Demands Answers from HHS Secretary on Whether Board Has Unchecked Power

August 1, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC - The House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee today called on Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to explain what rights a person or entity would have to legally challenge a decision or recommendation made by the controversial Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB).  During a July 13 Health Subcommittee hearing, Sebelius claimed individuals would be able to challenge IPAB decisions through the courts. However, current law specifically states, "There shall be no administrative judicial review under Section 1869, Section 1878, or otherwise of the implementation by the Secretary under this subsection of the recommendations contained in a proposal."

Members wrote, "Judicial reviews are key tenets of our political system and based on the principle that each separate branch of government should have certain checks on the powers of the other branches of government, thus creating a balance of power among all branches of government. Absent such checks, we fear Section 3403 of PPACA could undermine the safety and welfare of Medicare seniors.

"Therefore, given your statements on the subject, we respectfully request that the General Counsel of HHS detail for this Committee in writing what rights, under current federal law, he feels a person or entity would have to challenge any recommendation, proposal, or action -administrative or otherwise -initiated by IPAB or the Secretary, or implemented by the Secretary as required by Section 3403 of PPACA. Given the complexity of the law, we would respectfully request the answer include detailed situations in which your Department believes judicial review would be available and the situations your Department believes judicial review would not be an available recourse."

To read the entire letter, click here.