IPAB suddenly under the spotlight POSTED AT 9:36 AM ON APRIL 20, 2011 BY ED MORRISSEY In his speech last week, Barack Obama pledged to curtail health-care spending by giving more power to the Independent Physicians Advisory Board (IPAB), an unelected 15-member panel appointed by the President. Opponents of ObamaCare have had their sights fixed on the IPAB as a care-rationing board since the summer of 2009, while the media and many politicians in Congress downplayed their power. With Obamaâs pledge, though, itâs suddenly cool in Washington to take a second look at the IPAB (via Stanley Kurtz at The Corner): Even without the âdeath panelsâ connotation, this arrangement should offend anyone who believes in accountable government. The Constitution provides checks and balances between the legislative, executive, and judicial branches, but provides Congress with most of those checks due to its nature as the âpeopleâs branchâ of government. Placing an unelected panel in charge of spending decisions that Congress only can veto â and doing that through the executive branch rather than the legislative branch â offends the very nature of separation of powers. The Constitution gives Congress the power of the purse, not the President, and the IPAB turns that on its head. Furthermore, Obamaâs promise does push the IPAB further into âdeath panelâ territory because of the nature of its mandate. Itâs not an Independent Accountant Advisory Board, looking for bad fiscal practices to clean up. The IPAB exists to determine what kind of health services Medicare should and should not provide as a way to save money. That inevitably means that significant numbers of people on Medicare wonât get the care they desire, and thanks to the single-payer system and the fact that the government has already taken the money for those premiums, most of those will have little choice but to suffer more and die more quickly as a result. Obamaâs pledge to strengthen their power to make those cuts makes the issue even more urgent. Obama blasted Paul Ryanâs plan to transform Medicare into a voucher plan as somehow un-American, but at least Ryanâs plan would allow seniors to find other insurance if coverage for their care got denied. Even liberal Rep. Pete Stark sees the difference: And thatâs exactly what the Wall Street Journal sees, too: So the question is this. Do we trust seniors with the decisions for their own care, or do we trust hundreds of millions of those decisions each year to 15 unelected, unassailable bureaucrats in Washington DC? Obama may have made a very large mistake in reopening this political Pandoraâs Box in a thoroughly ill-advised speech.