House Passes Bill to Protect Medicare & Lower Healthcare Costs while keeping Congress Accountable to the American Public

March 22, 2012
Press Release

Washington, D.C. - U.S. Representative Glenn 'GT' Thompson today voted to support H.R. 5, the Protecting Access to Healthcare (PATH) Act, legislation that repeals the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) created under the President’s 2010 health care law, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and enacts meaningful medical liability reforms.  H.R. 5 passed the full U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 223-181.

“The President’s Affordable Care Act empowers an unelected, unaccountable advisory board to institute cost constraints on Medicare. This is not a fair deal for older Pennsylvanians or a way to strengthen Medicare for future generations. Repealing this provision keeps Congress accountable to the electorate,” said Representative Thompson. “Passage of H.R. 5 is another step in fulfilling our pledge to repeal this disastrous law and move forward with reforms that actually lower the costs of healthcare without balancing it on the backs of seniors.”

H.R. 5 repeals provisions of the ACA that created the IPAB, a 15-member government agency tasked with achieving specified savings in Medicare. The board’s decisions cannot be challenged in the courts – unlike other agency rules – and carry the full force of the law.  The measure also includes medical malpractice reforms by imposing limits on the type and amount of damages that can be awarded.

“The bill’s medical liability reforms will help reduce healthcare costs and allow for physicians to treat patients, rather than playing defensive medicine,” Representative Thompson added. “H.R. 5 will ensure access to quality care while reducing liability insurance and ultimately the cost burden on insurance plans, while not undermining the American legal system or consumer protections.”

Following passage of H.R. 5, Representative Thompson delivered a speech on tomorrow’s two-year anniversary since passage of the ACA.  Referencing a recent report by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, Thompson outlined the un-kept promises made by supporters of the law prior to its passage in 2009.

“Supporters said it wouldn’t cost a dime – yet last week, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office stated they now expect the law to cost $1.76 trillion over 10 years – this is nearly double the $940 billion originally claimed,” Representative Thompson stated in the speech. “They said it would bring down costs – yet these new mandates have helped result in premium increases of up to 9 percent in my home state of Pennsylvania.”

Thompson's speech: click here.