Upton Statement on PATH Act

March 22, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC - House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) made the following statement on the House approval of the PATH Act, H.R. 5, which repeals the controversial Independent Payment Advisory Board and advances medical liability reform:

"The PATH Act addresses two glaring deficiencies of the president's overhaul of the health care system. IPAB, created in the health care law, gives a panel of 15 unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats the power to make major decisions that will affect what treatment and services will be available to Medicare patients. The decisions of this powerful panel will be fast-tracked, essentially bypassing the legislative process with almost no opportunity for discussion or review. I suspect that most Americans still believe patients and doctors should have a voice and be able to decide which health care services they find valuable, which is why repealing IPAB has received overwhelming support from across the country and political spectrum.

"In addition to repealing a key provision of the health care law, the PATH Act includes reforms that will actually lower the cost of health care, a glaring omission in the president's law. The health care law failed to provide any meaningful reform to the broken and costly medical liability system, which is currently one of the largest cost drivers in our health care system. The current system is responsible for as much as $200 billion a year in unnecessary spending on defensive medicine; it fails to compensate injured patients in a fair and timely manner, and it threatens access to quality health care by driving good doctors out of high-risk specialties such as obstetrics and neurosurgery. The president promised to look at Republican ideas for medical liability reform. Passing this legislation is the first step toward allowing the president to make good on his promise.

"Health care decisions should be made between doctors and patients -that relationship does not work when bureaucrats and trial lawyers come between them."

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