ObamaCare: The Mammogram message
posted at 12:38 am on November 19, 2009 by Karl
I did not blog the US Preventive Services Task Force’s new guideline — that women in their 40s should stop routine annual mammograms and older women should cut back to biannual exams — because I did not have anything new to add. But now I do, so here is the refresher quote:
Some questioned whether the new guidelines were designed more to control spending than to improve health. In addition to prompting fewer doctors to recommend mammograms to their patients, they worried that the move would prompt insurers to deny coverage for many mammograms.
The new recommendations took on added significance because under health-care reform legislation pending in Congress, the conclusions of the 16-member task force would set standards for what preventive services insurance plans would be required to cover at little or no cost.
In assessing the political impact of the announcement, I would note that prior polling has tended to show that women supported ObamaCare, while men opposed it. Democrats cannot afford to lose the support of women on this issue, but the announcement plays into a narrative already advanced by the pro-choice movement that ObamaCare will ration healthcare for women.
The Obama administration is clearly worried about this. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has been busy misleading the public, noting that the task force’s recommendation is non-binding, while omitting that it would become binding under the PelosiCare bill Obama endorsed.
I will leave the debate over the science behind the guideline to the experts. But in a nation where most adults know someone affected by breast cancer, I suspect most people will see government influence in a negative light. You cannot play the “one death is a tragedy, a million is a statistic game” when so many know one. The administration’s weaseling will only reinforce public suspicions about rationing under ObamaCare.
Update: Ed Morrissey notes that the brand new Quinnipiac poll has ObamaCare losing among women.