The White House has got to be concerned by gathering bipartisan momentum against the Independent Payment Advisory Board, or IPAB, one of the hallmark features of Obamacare.
IPAB is the scary, 15-member board of unelected bureaucrats that is charged with controlling (which it will do by by making your private decisions for you, without ever having to lay eyes on you).
A bill to repeal IPAB, put forward by Tennessee Republican Rep. Phil Roe, has 234 co-sponsors, including 20 Democrats. The bill cleared the Energy and Commerce Committee by a unanimous voice vote yesterday. While it is likely that the White House would throw everything, including the kitchen sink, at defeating it in the Senate, this is a powerful statement.
The Wall Street Journal explains why this is so significant:
This turn is remarkable because the IPAB really does embody ObamaCare's innermost values and beliefs—to wit, that health decisions are too important to leave to the people receiving the care (patients), the people providing the care (doctors and hospitals), the people paying for the care (taxpayers), or even the people who got the government involved in the first place (politicians).
Instead, supposedly independent experts will run a battery of small experiments, figure out which ones "work" and then impose them through Medicare's price controls on all U.S. medicine. When health spending in a given year exceeds a budget benchmark, as it always does and will, the 15 White House-appointed wise men will work their miracles.
The Democratic opposition may not be entirely because they are concerned about having our medical decisions made by distant bureaucrats:
Former White House budget director Peter Orszag designed the IPAB to insulate it from the political system, akin to the Federal Reserve. This displeased liberals in Congress because for them entitlements aren't merely about social welfare but advancing their political agenda. If the IPAB succeeds in quarantining Medicare from politics, Washington would lose its powers to direct spending to political clients.
It may be that the only political pressure IPAB can face is a move to abolish it in toto. Once it is up and running for a while, Democrats and Republicans alike are going to find that it is an all-powerful body with virtually no checks and balances.
Should Obamacare stand, the most important figure in American health care becomes the secretary of HHS. Right now, of course, this is Kathleen Sibelius, needless to say, a key supporter of Obamacare.
Human Events has a link to a pretty amazing clip of Senator Ron Johnson questioning Ms. Sebelius in a hearing. You really should look at it.
In the clip, Johnson shows a great command of the numbers, including the vast amounts that Obamacare will add to the deficit. Sebelius either just isn’t conversant with the figures or knows she must obfuscate in order to conceal some of the downsides of Obamacare. She relies on a few hackneyed phrases (“Doing nothing is not an option”) instead of knowledge. Listening to her, one agrees with Johnson that we are going to be in for many nasty surprises if Obamacare is fully implemented. But it is Sebelius's strange performance that sticks with one.
Human Events notes:
In the course of a few minutes, Sebelius – who will become one of the most powerful officials on Earth, once ObamaCare is fully up and running – concedes that ObamaCare’s funding mechanisms are collapsing, its costs are ballooning out of control, and it has driven the cost of insurance for American families up instead of reducing them, and she has absolutely no idea what it’s going to do to the federal budget deficit.
Give Obama four more years, and his team will do even more wonderful things that nobody understands, at a cost no one can calculate!
Yes, Obamacare is unraveling. But that should not lessen the momentum of a move to repeal it. If any of it is left in place, millions of Americans will have to live (and die) with the regulations set up in those 2,000 plus pages of unread jargon. The prospect is chilling,