Democratic Congresspeople are, in essence, granting the legitimacy of the "Death Panels" talk and are expressing a willingness to get rid of them in order to win in the November elections. It is hard to fathom, but, essentially, this is what they are doing. This a bad move for a number of reasons.
First, they are conceding that the Republican contention of Death Panels is correct.
Vulnerable Senate Dems don't rule out voting against Obama cost-control boardThe IPAB helps control costs and reward choosing the best medical practices at the best prices. This is designed to stop the increasing growth rate of health care costs. Expanding coverage without addressing costs is not sustainable. The talk about "Death Panels" came from the idea that this panel would not cover necessary medical care because it cost too much. They theorized that the board would be reluctant to allow much money to be spent on prolonging the lives of senior citizens a short time.
By Julian Pecquet - 03/17/12 03:00 PM ET
Several Senate Democrats up for reelection tell The Hill they haven't ruled out bucking President Obama by voting to repeal the health law's cost-control board.
The House is expected to repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board next week, putting pressure on the Senate to follow suit.
Republicans, however, have attacked the panel of 15 experts as a "rationing board," a charge that has made it harder for Democrats to support the measure.If they had not agreed that this was "a rationing board", conceding that the false charges against it were true, then they would not have cosponsored legislation to repeal it or expressed a willingness to get rid of it. After all, why get rid of it, if it simply promotes choosing the best medical practices at the best cost ? If it is not bad, then why go there ?
In the House, 20 Democrats have co-sponsored legislation to repeal the board, and many more had been expected to vote for repeal.
And once they agree with this, then logically, this implies that the Affordable Care Act as a whole should be repealed. Without this board, there are fewer cost containing measures in the Act. Thus, health care costs would be less restrained. And we cannot expand coverage if we do not better control costs. Further, it makes the whole Act seem evil since it pushes people to be under the power of this board. Yielding to this false construction will not help those Democrats who do so for several reasons.
First, the inevitable question will be : Why did you support the Act in the first place when it had this provision ? You supported socialist death panels....
Second, in tougher races, taking this stand will not help them win more Republican votes. For the very most part, Republicans will vote for the Republican candidates and not for a Democrat who by his or her own admission supported such evil legislation.
Third, it will make it harder for them not to support repeal of the whole bill.
Getting rid of IPAB means that health care costs will grow faster. This makes the Act add more to the deficit; CBO will eventually some how come up with a number.
The House has the votes to not only get rid of the IPAB, but to repeal the whole bill.
"We're looking at it, let's put it that way," said Sen. Joe Machin (D-W.Va.). "We'll weigh the pros and cons" if the bill hits the floor.Now, with just a few defections in the Senate, there would be enough votes to pass the bill under normal circumstances. The good news is that there are several reasons why this attempt to repeal the IPAB will ultimately fail.
Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), another conservative Democrat in a tight race, said via a spokesman that she would take a "hard look" at the proposal if it ever came before the Senate.
First, this is a cost containing measure. This means that they cannot get rid of it without cutting spending or adding an equivalent amount of revenue if they want to use reconciliation. It would be hard for them to find something to offset this and maintain enough Democratic support in the Senate. Second, if they don't do that, then they can't use reconciliation. This would mean that they need 60 votes for cloture. I doubt that they could get 60 votes for cloture for a bill to repeal IPAB. Third, the President would veto this bill since it would open the door to repealing the Affordable Care Act.
Nevertheless, this is bad messaging and they are inflicting wounds on themselves, our party, and the President. Not good.