After listening to the president’s Obamacare “victory lap” speech from the Rose Garden last week, I have a question: Is this still the United States of America?

The president stated: “There are still no death panels.” Really?

The Affordable Care Act provides for the establishment of the Independent Payment Advisory Board. The purpose of this board is to make decisions to reduce health care costs in the Medicare program. The IPAB consists of 15 members who are appointed by the president and so are not accountable to other elected officials or the people.

Their job is to make recommendations to cut costs whenever spending per person in Medicare exceeds the Consumer Price Index.

What is troubling is that these proposals automatically become law unless both houses of Congress specifically overrule them by a three-fifths “super majority” and will have to pass cuts that are equal to or greater than the proposed cuts.

But it gets worse. The ACA mandates no resolution to repeal the IPAB can be introduced before Jan. 1, 2017, or after Feb. 1, 2017. Any repeal must be passed before Aug. 15, 2017, and cannot take effect until 2020!

This means Obamacare allows our constitution to work for only 30 days. Medicare is primarily for the elderly and about one quarter of its budget is spent on beneficiaries in their last year of life. I can only guess where the IPAB will look for cuts.

Sounds like a death panel to me.

Mark Kilburn

Portland