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Goldwater Institute Offers Only Lawsuit to Stop IPAB

November 18, 2014

PHOENIX — Politicians on both sides of the aisle are raising alarms about the unelected board that President Barack Obama has chosen to drastically reduce Medicare spending. Established by the federal health care law and highlighted in President Obama’s April 13 speech on the deficit, the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) is a 15-member, presidentially appointed panel that will be free to set Medicare policy and health care payment rates with no meaningful congressional oversight and without the possibility of judicial review.

The Goldwater Institute has filed a lawsuit in federal court opposing the IPAB as unconstitutional — the only lawsuit challenging the health care law to make this crucial argument.

“Protecting any new federal agency from being repealed by Congress appears to be unprecedented in the history of the United States,” said Diane Cohen, the Goldwater Institute’s lead attorney in this case.

The Goldwater Institute Scharf-Norton Center for Constitutional Litigation represents a number of clients in Coons v. Geithner, including U.S. Representatives Jeff Flake and Trent Franks of Arizona, who support repeal of the IPAB.

Unlike any other federal commission, the IPAB won’t have to follow the basic steps for adopting and enforcing administrative rules. The board’s annual payment schedules and policy proposals can’t be examined by the courts and automatically will become law unless amended by Congress through a difficult and complex procedure. Finally, even if Congress were to approve a repeal of the board in 2017, following the complex process allowed in the health care law, that repeal automatically would be delayed until 2020.

“No possible reading of the Constitution supports the idea of an unelected, standalone federal board that’s untouchable by both Congress and the courts,” said Clint Bolick, litigation director for the Goldwater Institute.

Read more about this and other lawsuits filed by the Goldwater Institute to protect individual rights and keep government within its constitutional limits here. The Goldwater Institute is an independent government watchdog whose work is made possible by the generosity of its supporters.



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