While there is widespread agreement that Medicare is on a runaway train to threatened bankruptcy , there is little agreement about how to put it back on track. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) includes many provisions aimed at containing Medicare costs – from reducing overpayments to private Medicare plans to changing the way we pay for and deliver care to our nation’s seniors and people with disabilities.

One Medicare reform provision that has proved wildly controversial is the creation of the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB). The board is meant to assure that the Medicare cost containment goals of the ACA are met. If they are not, IPAB is tasked with making recommendations to Congress for reducing program costs.

IPAB, heralded by some as the ACA’s “most promising cost control” and by others as a “death panel,” has been under heavy attack in recent months and its repeal is gaining supporters on both sides of the aisle. Yet, interestingly, the latest tracking poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation shows that the public places more trust in an IPAB-like body than in Congress or even the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to make proposals about ways to reduce Medicare spending and keep the program sustainable in the future.

So, what’s all the fuss about? The Hub will explore the debate around IPAB, find out what’s really underneath the controversy and help advocates sort through the rhetoric. Stay tuned.

— Renée Markus Hodin, Director, Integrated Care Advocacy Project