Q. What is this controversy regarding the IPAB really about? Are politics involved?
A. At its heart it’s a disagreement about the role that science should play in shaping health policy. Some argue that in a democracy, our elected representatives should make these decisions. Others points out that most Congressmen are not M.D’s. They lack the needed expertise, and are too likely to be unduly influenced by lobbyists representing drug makers and other special interests.
IPAB’s supporters would rather see a panel of experts use medical evidence to weigh what we should cover and what we should pay for various treatments. But many Americans are wary of “experts” and Republicans are particularly skeptical. Polling shows that when asked about having an independent panel make proposals for Medicare, 59 percent of Republicans expressed a high level of distrust vs. 39 percent of Democrats.