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House Votes to Repeal Independent Payment Advisory Board

On Thursday afternoon, the House passed legislation to repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), established in the Affordable Care Act.  Under the Act, the Board is authorized to make cuts to the Medicare program if Medicare's growth exceeds certain baselines. The IPAB has been a major target of many legislators who feel it removes responsibility and accountability from Congress. The legislation also imposes caps on the amount of non-economic damages that can be collected in medical malpractice proceedings. The vote, 223-181, followed closely to party lines.  Seven Democrats voted in favor of the package while ten Republicans opposed the measure and four Republicans voted "present". Senate leaders indicated that they would not bring the package to the floor and the White House threatened a veto if the package passed both chambers. The vote, on the eve of the two-year anniversary of the passage of the ACA, draws special attention as Supreme Court arguments around the constitutionality of the Act rapidly approach.  The Supreme Court will hear six hours of oral arguments from Monday, March 26 through Wednesday, March 28.  The Court is set to consider the tax implications of the law, the so-called "individual mandate" and the mandatory expansion of state's Medicaid programs.  While the Supreme Court does not allow cameras in their courtroom, daily transcripts and audio recordings of the proceedings will be posted on their website each evening.

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