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Healthcare reform law takes a hit

March 1, 2012 at 12:49 AM

WASHINGTON, March 1 (UPI) -- A U.S. House subcommittee voted Wednesday to repeal the healthcare reform law's cost-control board.

The measure cleared the Energy and Commerce Health subcommittee on a 17-5, The Hill reported. Two Democrats voted in favor of dismantling a portion of the signature legislative victory of President Obama's first term.

The bill is expected to come up for votes in the full committee and reach the House floor in the coming weeks.

Subcommittee Chairman Joe Pitts, R-Pa., expressed the concern of those oppose having Medicare policy set by the unelected Independent Payment Advisory Board, one some Republicans call a "rationing board" and Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn., has called "the real death panel," the Washington publication said.

"Supporters of IPAB tell us there is nothing wrong with having 15 unelected bureaucrats making binding decisions about Medicare policy," Pitts said.

"They are not troubled by the fact that there is no requirement for public comment prior to IPAB issuing its recommendations. That IPAB's actions are not subject to judicial review does not alarm them."

Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., said, however, the board provided a "backstop" to impose some "discipline" on Congress to avoid out-of-control Medicare health spending.

"We all hope the IPAB will be irrelevant. If the act works … it will be," he said. "Let's recognize today's vote for what it is: an attempt to discredit the Affordable Care Act and embarrass the president."

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