Green Room

ObamaCare: The Mammogram message

posted at 12:38 am on November 19, 2009 by

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.

Obviously unsurprising, given that Pres. Obama has portrayed doctors as people who not only conduct wasteful tests, but unnecessarily remove tonsils and feet to pad their coffers.

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.

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“Health Care” has never been about health care. It’s about the politician elite class maintaining their power base through vote buying. The currency of choice for this year is your health. I’m not buying it.

Mojave Mark on November 19, 2009 at 12:44 AM

Now really, your suppose to start the rationing AFTER the program passes, not before. But I guess this is what you have to expect when dealing with such smart

Fred 2 on November 19, 2009 at 1:02 AM

The obvious hypothetical here is: What if a panel of medical field people were put together under George W. Bush and produced a report calling for mammography scans to begin at the age of 50 instead of 40?

We all know the answer — Democrats, woman’s rights groups and the big media outlets would be shrieking that Bush, the Republican Party and conservatives in general are a bunch of misogynists who want women to die of cancer just to save money. But an Obama panel does it, and all of a sudden the same people want to look through the conflict with past medical recommendations to understand the nuances and possible dangers of excess medical testing.

jon1979 on November 19, 2009 at 7:54 AM

Let me get this straight–we all have to sacrifice but those apparently targeted most dangerously will be women under 50 and people on Medicare. Am really beginning to wonder about the Fed employees, including those on the hill, who are sacrificing not one little thing.

jeanie on November 19, 2009 at 8:47 AM

When they come out with new guidelines for prostate exams, I might start to agree with the bureaucrats. Women have been working so hard to detect and cure breast cancer and now have to sit down and shut up? The liberals are telling us in no uncertain terms that we women are not equal and not worth it.

Kissmygrits on November 19, 2009 at 9:26 AM

Dare we call it a death panel?

You want health care reform I have it right here.

petertheslow on November 19, 2009 at 9:35 AM

I’m really curious why there’s so much silence from the Go Pink Groups…. they are on the short list of the most powerful and recognizable lobbies in the US. Oops, I forgot, Obama put up a pink ribbon in front of the White House for a couple of days, so he’s cool.

2nd Ammendment Mother on November 19, 2009 at 10:29 AM

This issue has me more infuriated than most. Having lost my aunt to breast cancer at the age of 38, leaving two children, it is quite near to me. I am high risk, because of other family survivors, as well.

For so long, even up to last month, we have been taught the same information. National Breast Cancer Awareness month came and went with numerous “experts” telling women what we know and rely on: early detection saves lives. PERIOD. Now, a month later, a separate panel sans a single oncologist determines, “Oh, yeah…about those mams…”

I feel oddly betrayed…it’s the first time that I’ve felt the sting of government intrusion into my personal healthcare. I’ve fought against this hijacking of the hc system, of course, but this is the first I’ve felt personally offended. I hope more people are and more people voice outrage. We cannot, CANNOT lose our healthcare independence.

Diane on November 19, 2009 at 2:02 PM

Ya know, many say he/they are brilliant. I don’t disagree that there is a masterful plan in progress by the Obamabots however, if you accept that, why release this BEFORE they get the Health Rapeform Bill passed????

This being one of many examples of them overstepping and seemingly sabbotaging their own process???? Help me understand them. Please.

screwauger on November 19, 2009 at 5:46 PM

Being high-risk myself, I will get my mammogram every year whether the ObamaCare Gubmint Death Panel likes it or not, even if that means I have to go to Mexico to get it.

Rae on November 19, 2009 at 5:51 PM

Update: Ed Morrissey notes that the brand new Quinnipiac poll has ObamaCare losing among women.

Ironically, the house Health Care Plan is filled with stuff about ending “gender and racial disparities”. Not only does this mammogram recommendation hurt women, it particularly hurts black women who are prone to a particularly deadly form of the disease which hits at a younger age.

But hey, all women will have health coverage under ObamaCare, and we won’t have to pay more than men pay for their coverage, so its like totally worth it even if the care we receive totally sucks.

Buy Danish on November 19, 2009 at 6:08 PM

So….like someone pointed out, liberals, especially “women’s groups” want 0bamacare to pay for abortions for a very small percent of women, but deny early mammograms for all women.

I can’t square that circle.

Sekhmet on November 19, 2009 at 6:11 PM

Gee, sounds like a “death panel” to me.

Waiting for Allah’s apology to Sarah Palin in 5…4…3…2…1…

SDN on November 19, 2009 at 6:29 PM

This is a preview of what is to come.

There are several groups that make recommendations within the world of preventive medicine. All of these groups have a bias that influences their guidelines. Furthermore, each guideline is typically stratified based on the degree of strength of the recommendation which is ideally based on scientific evidence. Typically, we see groups such as the American Cancer Society making more conservative recommendations. The US Preventive Services Task Force typically makes recommendations that are less conservative. This group is appointed and funded by the gov to make recommendations. It is easy to see how they could be influenced by economic factors. When ObamaCare passes, we will see the government lean more heavily on their appointed task force to determine care. The recommendations and guidelines we see now by the USPSTF will become mandates and protocols. Furthermore, we will see new task forces set into place to influence every freaking area of medicine. In other words, “death panels”.

doctor horton on November 19, 2009 at 6:32 PM

You’d think the gals over at NOW would be up in arms over a decision to limit legitimate health care for women … but no, virtually their entire web page is dedicated to STOPPING THE STUPAK AMENDMENT.

Abortion is not health care no matter how loud they scream it is.

Their priorities don’t include women, their number one priority is killing babies.

darwin on November 19, 2009 at 6:44 PM

This is a harbinger of what Americans should expect if any version of the power-grabbing Obamacare becomes law. It will get all of us, starting with the elderly.

GaltBlvnAtty on November 19, 2009 at 7:07 PM

In a country that produces sites like this:

we have a President whose panel of “experts” (not one in the bunch is a cancer specialist) telling us to cut back on the most effective diagnostic tool.

W. T. F.


acat on November 19, 2009 at 7:37 PM

SDN on November 19, 2009 at 6:29 PM

Don’t hold your breath. The 0bamacare plan may not pay to get your lungs going again….


acat on November 19, 2009 at 7:38 PM

darwin on November 19, 2009 at 6:44 PM
They have become so emotionally bound to their fight for abortion rights that they’ve lost track of the idea of fighting for other womens’ health issues.

Rather like the New York Times, they’ve quite lost their way.


acat on November 19, 2009 at 7:41 PM

Our health care is more expensive in part because we invest in early detection. That leads to more lives saved. Socialized medicine leads to a lower standard of care, leading to more deaths. People who want socialized medicine want people to die.

rbj on November 19, 2009 at 7:52 PM

This is one huge middle finger to women in this country. And to top it off – telling doctors to STOP teaching women how to do self-exams?? WTF??

Need to make more noise about how federal employees and members of congress are exempt from the crap sandwich they’re forcing down our throats.

redfoxbluestate on November 19, 2009 at 8:19 PM

You know what would be a effective viral hitjob on ObamaCare? If somebody made a quality commercial featuring many women whose lives were saved with a mammogram at age 40-50. That would be a large # of women – republican and democrat. And please don’t put any dumb celebrities in it.

doctor horton on November 19, 2009 at 8:21 PM

Next topic for the United States Preventive Services Task Force to tackle …… Tonsils

doctor horton on November 19, 2009 at 8:31 PM

US Preventive Services Task Force

Only one thing needs to be said about this task force and its members:

There is not ONE Oncologist among them; not ONE!

exsanguine on November 19, 2009 at 9:46 PM

Add this to the laundry list of instances where our liberty/freedom is diminished by this proposed unconstitutional legislation. They said that it must pass by Thanksgiving. We know now that the longer they take to debate this the more informed the American public will become of its enumerable downsides. An informed Republic will thereby lower their chances of passing it. Which is why the vote must be delayed into perpetuity. The prospect of passing this bill is in the hands of the US senate. The senate is supposed to be the saucer that cools the overheated tea provided by the house of representatives. Amazing isn’t it. It went from 1,990 pgs in the house version to 2,074 pgs in the senate version.

Pelosi pulled a fast one in the house by voting for their version of the bill late on a Saturday evening. Reid may be trying the same tactic this Saturday just to get it out onto the senate floor for debate by Monday. Once it is on the floor for debate it will be hustled through. I don’t know how you hustle through 2,074 pages of health care mandates but the pressure to bring it to a final vote prior to Thankgiving is going to be intence. Don’t be surprised if a manufactured crisis arises during the upcoming debate in the senate to distract the American public away from what is going on the senate floor next week. It is the modus operendi of the left. Like what a magician does while performing a magic trick. The magician exagerates a gesture with one hand causing the audience to avert their eyes away from the other hand. Slight of hand so to speak. Wiil the American public fall for another manufactured ruse? We’ll just have to wait and see.

The American tax paying public is the preverbial chickens in the coop and presently the Democrat controlled congress is like a fox pretending to be a watchdog left to guard and protect the chickens from predators. The thing is that everyday that passes, the population of chickens residing in the coop goes down by one. The fox explains that the chicken must have flown the coop but nobody bothers to ask the fox what he was watch guarding when said chicken flew away. If somebody was to ask that sly fox, the fox will surely have a plausable reply at the ready. For instance: it must have been that owl hooting that distracted me briefly during my watch. It could happen, huh?

Who are these Democrat foxes pretending to be watchdogs of the US constitution. Why are they willing to overhaul the best health care system in the world? Are they themselves to be a part of this false defintion and use of the word “reform” in conjuction with the term “health care?” No they are not to be the recipiants or participants in and of this crafty legislation. It’s more like, what is legislated for thee will not be applicable to me kind of legislation. There in fact ladies and gentlemen is the rub. The elected pretended watchdog fox members of congress, their staff members and probably many other government bureaucrats will be writing/dictating just how much of a bang for their designed public optioned buck heath care you may be qualified for. This of course will be determined by a chart. What is on that chart has yet to be determined but, don’t worry, the governments efficient task forces are working on that as we speak. We won’t be able to have public access of the chart until after Obamacare is signed into law but, by then it will be too late to stop Obamacare, won’t it? The hell with the 10th Amendment. Here comes the AMTRAK/US Postal Service version of health care. Don’t worry about those folks who enter and stay in our country illegally. Amnesty legislation has been written already by Pelosi’s staff & other minions that will bring them into the fold faster than a buck rabbit during breeding season. Well, maybe not that quick but you’ll probably feel the same as the doe rabbits do afterwards.

So if you have any free time today or tomorrow – call all the US senators and tell them that you’d like to know a lot more about what is in those 2,074 pages.

Americannodash on November 20, 2009 at 4:08 AM

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