Yesterday, John Boehner and Mitch McConnell announced that Republicans would not be naming any members to IPAB, the board empowered by Obamacare with making recommendations for ways to cut the cost of Medicare. Wesley Smith is really, really excited:
Way to go! The next step is to use Senate confirmation hearings to educate the American people about why the IPAB is un-American and shatters representative democracy. Pound it, pound it, pound it! Then, Republicans and commonsense Democrats in the Senate should refuse to confirm any nominated members to the board, using a filibuster if necessary. After that, defunding and eventual repeal.
Really, this is amazing. It’s now un-American for a government agency to be tasked with controlling costs in a government program. Is this because controlling costs is un-American? Because appointed commissions are un-American? Smith doesn’t say. But apparently it’s now conservative dogma that the only patriotic way Medicare costs can be reined in is by voucherizing the program.1 Nothing else is tolerable.
Of course, as a number of people have pointed out, this move doesn’t prevent IPAB from working. If the Senate doesn’t confirm anyone to the board, it just means that the HHS secretary has to make cost-cutting proposals on her own if Medicare grows faster than allowed. So what’s the point? Pretty obviously, it’s to make sure that if Medicare is cut in any way, Republicans can blame it solely and completely on Democrats.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is your fiscally responsible Republican Party. Keep all this in mind the next time you hear them yammering on about how critical entitlement reform is and how our spiraling deficits are imperiling the country.
1This is the gospel according to St. Paul. But it’s worth noting (yet again) that even Paul Ryan has never fessed up about what he’d do if his voucher plan fails to meet his own growth control targets. He’d have to do something, and it’s hard to see how he could avoid something un-American.