The House on Thursday passed a bill to repeal a panel created by Obamacare to cut Medicare if it spends too much.
The House voted 307-111 to repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board, a subject of ire from Republicans and some Democrats. Lawmakers say the board takes away congressional authority over entitlement spending.
The bill that got hefty support from Democrats faces an uncertain fate in the Senate, but top sponsor Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn., is optimistic.
“As soon as we see what kind of vote we get here I will contact the Senate folks,” Roe said before the vote Thursday. “I am excited about it. I think this is the best chance I have had since 2010.”
IPAB was established in Obamacare to rein in spending under Medicare. If Medicare spending reaches a certain level, IPAB meets to develop automatic cuts to the program.
If Congress doesn’t come up with an alternative, those cuts would go into effect automatically.
No panel has been brought together, and Medicare spending is about four years away from the threshold to trigger IPAB.
Democrats have complained that Republicans are targeting the panel now as part of a larger effort to chip away at Obamacare after congressional repeal efforts faltered in the Senate.
They argued during floor debate ahead of the vote that the board was necessary to cut back on healthcare spending. Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., said the vote was an "effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act piece by piece," using the formal name for Obamacare.
"What we are seeing is Republicans sabotaging the Affordable Care Act," he said. "They couldn't repeal it so now they are sabotaging it."
Republicans have referred to the board as a "death panel," saying that it would take away medical care from seniors.
Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Fla., who co-sponsored the bill, said on the House floor that it left decisions about healthcare spending to "unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats."
"Let's get rid of it, nobody wants it," he said.