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H.R. 5 Protecting Access To Healthcare Act

Rep. Nick J. Rahall II

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Mr. Speaker, I rise today to voice the concerns raised by my constituents regarding the Independent Payment Advisory Board

Though I voted against H.R. 5, the Protecting Access to Healthcare Act, I, too, have concerns about an unelected, unaccountable board tasked with creating cost-cutting plans if Medicare spending exceeds certain levels. Though the Board is prohibited by law from cutting beneficiary policies, and the Congressional Budget Office predicts that a cost-cutting plan will not be triggered during this budget cycle, I urge my House colleagues to revisit this issue. We, as elected representatives of the people, have a Constitutional responsibility to ensure the voices of our constituencies are heard when it comes to the future of Medicare. Walling off those decisions, in order to expedite cost cutting efforts that lack sufficient popular support, is the surest way to a budgetary debacle.

We must preserve access to quality care, while containing costs, but we also must ensure an opportunity for the voice of the people to be heard and their needs to be taken into consideration.