Howard Dean isn't toeing the party line when it comes to the Affordable Care Act. In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, Dean praises parts of the law, but takes aim at one of its key provisions: "the so-called Independent Payment Advisory Board," that will determine what rates Medicare will pay for various procedures and drugs. "The IPAB will be able to stop certain treatments its members do not favor by simply setting rates to levels where no doctor or hospital will perform them," Dean warns.
While our system does need to control costs somehow, "rate setting—the essential mechanism of the IPAB—has a 40-year track record of failure." Dean's own home state of Vermont has tried it, and seen "virtually no long-term effect on costs." What it has done is frustrate patients "because bureaucrats in either the private or public sector are making medical decisions without knowing the patients." Thanks to partisanship, there's no way the law is changing, but "getting rid of the IPAB is something Democrats and Republicans ought to agree on." Click for Dean's full piece.