GOP asks Supreme Court to take on another ObamaCare case

The Hill

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Washington, DC, December 9, 2014 | Sarah Ferris | comments

Twenty-five Republicans are asking the Supreme Court to take up another case against ObamaCare, this time challenging a controversial medical board that the party has labeled “a death panel.”

Members led by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Rep. Phil Roe (R-Tenn.) are urging the high court to reconsider a lawsuit against the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), which is charged with cutting Medicare spending if it exceeds a certain level.

“As a physician with more than 30 years of experience, I find the ability of this board to intervene in the relationship doctors have with their patients alarming,” Roe said at a press conference Thursday. “I have serious concerns that this unelected, unaccountable bureaucracy could have a devastating impact on seniors’ access to care, and I hope the court will hear this case.”

The case, Coons v. Lew, argues that the advisory board oversteps the bounds of separation of powers. The lawsuit was previously dismissed by an appeals court.

“I believe we need to use every means at our disposal to save Americans from the negative impacts of IPAB,” Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Col.) said at the briefing.

Roe, whose bills to repeal the board have already passed the House, said he also hopes to revive the battle in Congress as well as the Supreme Court.

“I feel very confident that this [bill] will make it to the presidents desk,” Roe said.

The board does not yet have members and has drafted no policy, but it has reentered the spotlight as the GOP plot ways to take down the law as they regain control of the Senate next month.

Coburn and Roe, who are both doctors, announced the amicus brief in an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal late Wednesday night.

“Because the law frees [the board] of any checks and balances, waiting could be dangerous. The Supreme Court should hold that the time to answer these constitutional questions is now, not later,” they wrote.

They criticized the board, which was memorably called a “death panel” by 2008 vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin and also described as “healthcare rationing” by Democrats, for its ability to write rules to cut Medicare spending that become law unless Congress votes to strike them down.

“There is nothing ‘advisory’ about its vast powers,” they wrote. “The law gives this board sweeping authority to do so, with virtually no constraints.”

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