Center for American Progress Action

CAPAF Commends Sens. Rockefeller, Lieberman and Whitehouse on IMAB Amendment
Press Release

CAPAF Commends Sens. Rockefeller, Lieberman and Whitehouse on IMAB Amendment

December 16, 2009

Dear Senators Rockefeller, Lieberman and Whitehouse,

The health reform debate has made crystal clear that making health care more affordable and putting our nation on a path towards economic prosperity requires slowing ever-increasing health care costs. Although rising Medicare costs are at the heart of our long-term fiscal problems, the cost problem is not Medicare’s alone. A more efficient health care system requires aggressive payment and delivery reform not only in Medicare, but in the private sector as well.

We are therefore pleased to endorse the amendment proposed by Senators Rockefeller, Lieberman and Whitehouse to strengthen the Independent Medicare Advisory Board. The foundation for the Board is included in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act; the proposed amendment builds on that foundation. The amendment strengthens the Board’s impact on Medicare by expanding its scope to include all providers and suppliers, and by moving spending targets forward so that the efficiencies the health care industry has promised can be achieved at the earliest possible date.

The amendment goes beyond these improvements to break new ground in two critical ways. First, independent of spending targets, it makes the Board’s authority to provide fast-track recommendations for Medicare reforms continuous and permanent, without regard to whether spending targets have been met. In so doing, it assures constant oversight and action to make Medicare a continuing force for efficiently delivered, quality care. Second, the amendment extends the Board’s authority beyond Medicare, enabling it to assess private sector cost growth, make appropriate recommendations to promote greater efficiency in the public and private sectors, and apply recommended reforms to private plans as a condition for participation in state insurance exchanges.

Throughout the health reform debate, the Center for American Progress Action Fund has promoted establishment of an independent body with the authority not only to build a more efficient Medicare program, but to build a more efficient health care system. Only an approach that addresses private as well as public sector costs can assure that changes made to Medicare are to the benefit, not the detriment, of its beneficiaries, and that savings to public payers are not offset by increased costs to private payers.

We applaud Senators Rockefeller, Lieberman, and Whitehouse for their initiative, and look forward to the adoption of this amendment as part of legislation that will truly reform our health care system and deliver affordable, high quality health care to all Americans.


John Podesta

President and CEO, Center for American Progress Action Fund

David Cutler

Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress Action Fund

Judy Feder

Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress Action Fund