Coincidence or trial balloon?


Is it just a coincidence that the U.S. Preventive Services
Task Force is now recommending that women wait until they're in their 50s
before getting mammograms and, then, every two years?

This new advice contradicts that of the American Cancer
Society, advice the society has been giving for 20 years and continues to give
despite the change in attitude from the USPSTF. The Cancer Society recommends
mammograms every year beginning at age 40 and that women should do self-examination
for breast cancer.

Now the task force also said women who do self-exams are
doing themselves no good and that even the value of breast exams performed by
doctors is unknown.

The question that comes to mind is whether this is a portent
of things to come if government provided healthcare becomes law. Consider that
many critics of governmentally run healthcare have said that services would be
rationed or cut back. With that in mind, it's reasonable to be cynical when a
government entity recommends cutting back on accepted medical recommendations.
(More people should become cynical and suspicious whenever government exceeds
its Constitutionally enumerated powers.)

It should be noted–by critics and advocates of the new
governmental suggestion–that the task force's recommendation is in line with
international guidelines.  The
World Health Organization recommends mammograms two years, while in Britain the
recommendation is every three years.

But is that necessarily a good thing? We think not.

If government runs healthcare, with or without the
euphemistically named “public option,” what is to stop the federal government
from adopting as a routine policy the recommendation of the Preventive Services
Task Force (or any other such agency, foreign or native) that would turn such
recommendations into requirements? A woman who, now, can have breast cancer
detected at age 40 or 41 must wait until that cancer has been growing for nine
or 10 years before she learns she’s sick.

In a recent private e-mail from a reader, we learned that
he, a small business owner in Kennett Square, is spending $800 per month for
his own health insurance and another $2,000 per month for employees.

He is concerned with the high costs he’s paying and sees a
government option as a financially viable alternative to what he faces now.
He’s a caring individual who wants to do right by his family and employees and
thinks government healthcare is the way to go.

But if health services and procedures are cut or reduced,
the actual value of government coverage is also reduced even if it’s “free,”
which it can’t be. It will be paid for through increased taxes.

What will bring costs down and keep services available are
choice and competition. Allow for individuals to choose the level of coverage
they want.

If a woman in her 20s or 30s wants mammograms covered in a
health insurance policy, she would pay for that in her premium, while a woman
who declines such coverage would not pay.

If a single male doesn’t want anything other than coverage
for accidents or catastrophic care, allow for that alone to be covered without
forcing him to buy a policy that also includes mammography or pregnancy
coverage.

Also consider that some medical costs remain high because of
insurance. The cost of Lasik eye surgery isn’t covered by insurance, but the
cost of the procedure is less now than it was five years ago because of
competition and innovation.

And a specific blood pressure medication costs $173 per
month without insurance, $20 per month with, but an herbal remedy that has
fewer side effects costs only $8 per month and does just as good a job.

But such choice, along with lower prices and a high degree
of a service, can only come about through an open market, not through
government intervention.

Perhaps the news was
just a coincidence, or maybe it was a trial balloon to see how people react.

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One Response to “Coincidence or trial balloon?”

  1. DeVries says:

    Would be happy to head the line, if new plan says women can’t effectively examine themselves for mammography issues — will volunteer to perform these exams since they can’t do them themselves! Will try to hold the line on prices!!

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