One time Democratic presidential candidate, former governor of Vermont, and progressive champion for government-run health care Howard Dean penned an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal Sunday calling for the elimination of an important section of Obamacare – the Independent Payment Advisory Board.
Dean is a physician, as well as a consultant at the law firm McKenna, Long & Aldridge. While the article does note that Dean is affiliated with the firm, it does not mention its standing as a heavy player in Washington and that it has represented a host of health, pharmaceutical, and insurance companies.
Although the article opens with Dean saying that lawmakers should work to ensure the "foremost achievement of President Obama's first term" is implemented smoothly, he says the advisory board would be ineffective at controlling costs and would merely serve to add to the bureaucracy of the medical system.
"What ends up happening in these schemes (which many states including my home state of Vermont have implemented with virtually no long-term effect on costs) is that patients and physicians get aggravated because bureaucrats in either the private or public sector are making medical decisions without knowing the patients," he wrote.
The Independent Payment Advisory Board, which the House voted to repeal in 2012, would be a 15-member bipartisan panel that can control Medicare payment policies if its costs get too high. This is the same provision Sarah Palin infamously mislabeled a "death panel," which PolitiFact named its 2009 Lie of the Year.
Dean called on Republicans and Democrats in Congress to repeal the measure, a move that already has bipartisan support in the House.
"The IPAB will cause frustration to providers and patients alike, and it will fail to control costs," he wrote. "When, and if, the atmosphere on Capitol Hill improves and leadership becomes interested again in addressing real problems instead of posturing, getting rid of the IPAB is something Democrats and Republicans ought to agree on."
Dean has responded on Twitter to some criticisms of his article:
Jacob Fischler is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, D.C.
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