24 November 2009

Don't blame ObamaCare for new mammogram guidelines

A new recommendation from the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force says that women under 50 should not have routine mammograms after all. And that recommendation has generated a lot of disagreement from the public, including breast cancer survivors who say they would be dead if they had not had mammograms at an earlier age.

Some right-wing pundits are pointing to this as an example of the dangers of government-run health care. But they are wrong. Those recommendations have absolutely nothing to do with government-run health care or a public option.

First of all, that task force had been appointed by George W. Bush, not Barack Obama.

Furthermore, Kathleen Sebelius, Obama's Secretary of Health and Human Services, has stated that the recommendations will not set policy. CBS News described Sebelius's response to the report (and subsequent uproar) as follows:
"The U.S. Preventive Task Force is an outside independent panel of doctors and scientists who make recommendations," Sebelius said in her statement. "They do not set federal policy, and they don't determine what services are covered by the federal government."

"There has been debate in this country for years about the age at which routine screening mammograms should begin, and how often they should be given," the secretary added. "The Task Force has presented some new evidence for consideration but our policies remain unchanged. Indeed, I would be very surprised if any private insurance company changed its mammography coverage decisions as a result of this action."

What is clear, Sebelius said, is the need for more research and innovation in breast cancer prevention, detection and treatment.

"Mammograms have always been an important life-saving tool in the fight against breast cancer and they still are today," she said. "Keep doing what you have been doing for years - talk to your doctor about your individual history, ask questions and make the decision that is right for you."
So this is not the beginning of any death panels. The government will not come between you and your doctor.

Unfortunately, we cannot say the same for the private health insurance companies.

No comments:

Post a Comment