Letter to the Editor

December 10, 2013

Dear Editor:

In a recent Letter to the Editor, Mr.Mills asserted that under the Affordable Care Act, the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) would be deciding who lives and who dies. That repeatedly debunked “death panel” idea from Sarah Palin keeps getting revived by people who choose to ignore facts.

According to the White House web site, 15 experts, including doctors and patient advocates, would be nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate to serve on IPAB. The IPAB would recommend policies to Congress to help Medicare provide better care at lower costs. This could include ideas on coordinating care, getting rid of waste in the system, incentivizing best practices, and prioritizing primary care. This board is specifically prohibited by law from recommending any policies that ration care, raise taxes, increase premiums or cost-sharing, restrict benefits or modify who is eligible for Medicare.

As for ending the filibuster, Republicans whose sole purpose is bringing down Obama have been hamstringing government by saying “NO” to everything the President proposes, even if these same Republicans used to like it before Obama was for it; they are a minority running roughshod over the country.

Courts have been choked with backlogs because Senate Republicans refuse to approve nominees they acknowledge are completely qualified. That means real Americans cannot have their cases treated in a timely way. Such a move on Senate Democrats’ part to restrict filibustering would not have been necessary if moderate Republicans were standing up and serving the good of the country rather than pandering to the Tea Party in hopes of being re-elected.

I hope they all get to work on our behalf in a spirit of cooperation.

Jill Grubb, Bennington West Township