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Truth Squad: Will political appointees be making all of your health care decisions?

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 3:11 AM EDT, Wed October 12, 2011

(CNN) -- At Tuesday night's GOP Presidential Debate in Hanover, New Hampshire, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann criticized the Affordable Care Act claiming the health care plan puts political appointees in charge of medical decisions that are currently made by patients and their doctors.

The Statement: "The way that Obamacare runs, there is a board called IPAB. It's made up of 15 political appointees. These 15 political appointees will make all the major health care decisions for over 300 million Americans. I don't want 15 political appointees to make a health care decision for a beautiful fragile 85-year-old woman who should be making her own decision. -- Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minnesota

The Facts: Bachmann was referring to the Independent Payment Advisory Board which has long been a controversial component of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The Board is tasked with recommending proposals to limit per capita Medicare spending if it exceeds targeted growth rates. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, a non-profit, non-partisan group, it would consist of "15 full-time members appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate for six-year terms." And its first set of recommendations would be "due in 2014 for implementation in 2015." Congress currently oversees all Medicare spending.

While the American Medical Association says it is "opposed to the current scope and authority of the IPAB and the lack of flexibility in its mandate" and has vowed to push Congress to limit its authority, Kaiser says "the Board is prohibited from submitting proposals that would ration care, increase taxes, change Medicare benefits or eligibility, increase beneficiary premiums and cost-sharing requirements, or reduce low-income subsidies under (Medicare) part D."

The AMA says the Board will consist of people with "national recognition for their expertise in health finance and economics" ... and it must include "physicians and other health professionals, experts in the area of pharmaco-economics or prescription drug benefit programs" and "individuals representing consumers and the elderly." And no member "may be engaged in any other business, vocation or employment."

Also, Congress will have the authority to block or make changes to the board's recommendations.

Verdict: False

CNN's Chris Mould and Julie In contributed to this report.

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