Your readers might want to look at what is behind the recent full-page ad (Feb. 9, Page A5) by the Health Leadership Council, asking your readers to call Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King and have them vote to repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board or risk cuts to Maine seniors’ Medicare.

Before making that call, your readers might want to know this, reported Sept. 25, 2011, by Wendell Potter for PRWatch:

“In September 2011, the Health Leadership Council announced, in a press release, a scheme that would lead the U.S. toward a complete corporate takeover of the Medicare program. The plan would gradually move Medicare beneficiaries into a privatized system by, in the words of the press release, ‘creat(ing) a new “Medicare Exchange” in which private plans would compete on the basis of cost, quality and value.’ ”

SourceWatch reported that Potter, a “former insurance industry PR executive-turned-consumer-advocate, warned that the program was essentially Paul Ryan’s health care plan utilizing a voucher system, but executed in a slower fashion.”

The Independent Payment Advisory Board is tasked with developing specific proposals to bring the net growth in Medicare spending back to target levels if the Medicare actuary determines that net spending is forecast to exceed target levels, beginning in 2015.

With regard to the board’s recommendations, federal law says: “The proposal shall not include any recommendation to ration health care, raise revenues or Medicare beneficiary premiums under section 1818, 1818A, or 1839, increase Medicare beneficiary cost sharing (including deductibles, coinsurance and co-payments), or otherwise restrict benefits or modify eligibility criteria.”

Readers might want to ask their senators to support the Independent Payment Advisory Board, not repeal it.

Chris Queally

South Portland