On of the most controversial parts of the new Obamacare law is the 15-member Independent Payments Advisory Board, also known as IPAB.
Able to act without congressional approval, the board is empowered to dictate what constitutes "necessary care" for those who participate in Medicare, the nation's health insurance program for those over age 65. Opponents of Obamacare regard it as a rationing board, one of the so-called "death panels" to which former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and others drew attention during the run-up to the vote on healthcare reform.
Of all of Obamacare's unpopular components, the board may be the most unpopular—and the most dangerous. "Congress can't allow bureaucratic number crunchers to decide what is 'necessary' for your health," said actor and singer Pat Boone, the national spokesman for the 60 Plus Association, a conservative seniors' group. "No politician—especially an unelected, unaccountable bureaucrat—should have the power to deny seniors the care we deserve."
60 Plus has launched an ad campaign highlighting healthcare reform's impact on America's seniors, especially the threat IPAB poses to the quality and availability of their healthcare.
The ad features Boone saying, "Last year, a lot of promises were made regarding healthcare reform, but America's seniors knew forcing a bill through Congress when Americans overwhelmingly opposed it would be disastrous. And we were right."
"This IPAB board can ration care and deny certain Medicare treatments so Washington can fund more wasteful spending. Your choices could be limited and you may not be able to keep your own doctor," Boone says.
The $3.5 million ad buy includes television and online advertising began March 12 in Florida, Michigan, Ohio, Montana, and Missouri, targeting five Senate Democrats, Sens. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, Ohio's Sherrod Brown, Montana's Jon Tester, Missouri's Claire McCaskill, and Florida's Bill Nelson, all of whom most political prognosticators consider vulnerable to defeat as they seek re-election later this year.
"The Independent Payment Advisory Board must be abolished," said Jim Martin, chairman and founder of 60 Plus. "After cutting $500 billion from Medicare, Obama's healthcare bill will create a Medicare IRS that will deny seniors access to the care we need. When bureaucracy like this is introduced, Americans lose. And in healthcare, losing is unacceptable."