For those that have laughed off the ‘death panel’ (which was actually instituted under the Stimulus bill), health care rationing is here thanks to the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.
The task force 6 months ago continued its recommendations that women have mammograms every one to two years starting at age 40. The panel, which changes with every administration, now says that the screening shouldn’t start until age 50 and that a woman at this age only needs a screening once every two years. These recommendations are based on data collected since its last advisory in 2002.
What’s changed? We are getting closer and closer to state-run health care.
If ObamaCare is passed, the government will be paying for a lot more of these exams. That will put a serious strain on resources and health care dollars. The motivation here for the task force and HHS clearly is to cut costs, not to save lives.
According to that data, routine mammograms for women age 39 to 49 reduce cancer deaths by 15 percent, a figure the task force considers “modest.” Put another way, for every 1,900 women in their 40s who undergo a mammogram, one life will be saved. For women in their 50s that figure jumps to one life saved for every 1,300 screened, and for women in their 60s the figure is one in 377.
So clearly the numbers point to screenings being increasingly significant with age. The task force insists that for 40-somethings the risks of false positives outweigh the benefits. While those “risks” consist largely of anxiety, the benefits of finding that one woman in 1,900 – a young woman, let’s not forget, possibly the mother still of young children – whose life might be saved are very real indeed.
Over on MSNBC, Dr. Nancy Snyderman tried to explain it this way:
“But, you ration what food you eat. You ration how much sleep you get. And this is saying we should question about how we spend our health care dollars.”
Are we really prepared to write off the lives of tens of thousands of women in their prime for whom early detection really is a life-saver?