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Thursday, January 27, 2011

What! Pete Sides With GOP

REVIVAL OF 'DEATH PANEL' RHETORIC COMING; STARK AGAINST BOARD REGULATING MEDICARE SPENDING
Republicans on Capitol Hill vowed to dismantle health care reform one piece at a time since acting to repeal the law is politically impossible with a Democratic Senate and White House, but one segment of the landmark reform highlighted by the GOP for repeal has a surprising local supporter.

Mother Jones today called the Senate plan to enact an Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) in 2015 to help reign in rising Medicare costs a revival of the GOP’s “death panels.” Republicans Wednesday called the board “Soviet-style” planning and criticized the formulations unelected members with presidential appointees possessing too much power.

Four Democrats opposed the IPAB, including local Reps. Pete Stark and Jerry McNerney. There are not many times when the irascible Stark has sided from conservatives over his 38 years in Congress, Last year he called the IPAB “dangerous” for the power it could wield over Medicare. The IPAB was not part of the health care reform bill authored in the House, which included notable input from Stark.

The American Medical Association, American Hospital Association and various pharmaceutical group also oppose the board. Incidentally, the groups make up a large portion of Stark’s campaign finance dollars over the years. Stark is the ranking member of the House Ways and Means Committee on Health, which can also be attributed to his strong connections within the health industry.

-STEVEN TAVARES
POLITICS HOMEGROWN eastbaycitizen.com

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