It sounds like a new Apple Inc. product, but IPAB is actually a controversial board at the heart of a highly charged battle over Medicare, the federal health program for the elderly and disabled. The Independent Payment Advisory Board was created by the 2010 health care law. Last month, in releasing his deficit-reduction plan, President Obama called for increasing the panel's authority, saying it was critical to controlling the costs of the program, estimated at $524 billion in fiscal 2010. Republicans and some Democrats have denounced the IPAB, saying it will be made up of unelected bureaucrats who will wind up rationing care to Medicare beneficiaries. As the spotlight turns back to the deficit, debates about IPAB are moving front and center.