Previews of Government Run Healthcare

Lauri Regan
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force published guidelines on breast cancer screening on Monday, which completely overturned previous advice by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, American Cancer Society, the American Medical Association, and medical doctors who specialize in the field.
 
According to the USPSTF, women in their 40s should no longer undergo routine annual mammograms, women 50 and older should only have a mammogram every other year, and physicians should no longer teach women how to examine their breasts for indications of cancer. The task force concluded that none of these steps is of enough of a benefit to women when compared with the harms of a false positive (the stress of worry and costs of unnecessary additional tests).

I am not sure how many AT readers know people who were diagnosed with breast cancer in their 30s and 40s either through routine mammography or self-exams at home, but I personally know a handful and when I speak with friends and family, that number grows exponentially. With a woman being diagnosed with breast cancer every minute, one in seven being diagnosed at some point in their lives, and 40,000 dying annually from the disease, the government task force’s conclusions are astonishing and scary. Furthermore, the disease is more aggressive when diagnosed at a young age which makes early detection even more important. And what is the downside of early detection?

According to Phil Evans, a professor of radiology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and president of the Society for Breast Imaging,

“There’s a ton of scientific data in this country and others on screening that shows a significant benefit for women between 40 and 49 to be screened.”

Apparently, this task force, which receives its funding from the federal government although it is officially an independent group, disagrees.

It is hard not to conclude that this is a sign of things to come when the government gets involved with running a cost-benefit analysis at the expense of a segment of society that will likely bear the burden of its misguided decision-making. It will not be surprising if private insurance companies determine that they no longer have to pick up the tab on tests run outside of the scope of these recommendations. Worse yet will be the ill-informed decision by many women to stop their at home self-exams which add no cost to the medical system other than a follow-up visit to a doctor.
 
What makes the individuals on this task force qualified to tell me that it is not worth a little anxiety in order to prevent breast cancer? I personally would rather undergo a biopsy and find out that the lump that I felt or that showed up in the mammogram is simply a cyst or a calcium deposit than find out months later that I’m in a late-stage of cancer that may not be able to be cured. And I would venture to guess that under Obamacare, a late stage patient of breast cancer will probably not qualify for the costly medical treatments required in order to extend their lives.

While there is no doubt that these guidelines will be controversial and confusing to women, I can only hope that this preview of coming attractions under a government run healthcare system will wake that portion of the population still on board with Obamacare. For the chances of each and every one of them being touched by this disease is great enough that if they continue to support this power grab farce, they may ultimately pay the price with the unnecessary death of a loved one.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force published guidelines on breast cancer screening on Monday, which completely overturned previous advice by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, American Cancer Society, the American Medical Association, and medical doctors who specialize in the field.
 
According to the USPSTF, women in their 40s should no longer undergo routine annual mammograms, women 50 and older should only have a mammogram every other year, and physicians should no longer teach women how to examine their breasts for indications of cancer. The task force concluded that none of these steps is of enough of a benefit to women when compared with the harms of a false positive (the stress of worry and costs of unnecessary additional tests).

I am not sure how many AT readers know people who were diagnosed with breast cancer in their 30s and 40s either through routine mammography or self-exams at home, but I personally know a handful and when I speak with friends and family, that number grows exponentially. With a woman being diagnosed with breast cancer every minute, one in seven being diagnosed at some point in their lives, and 40,000 dying annually from the disease, the government task force’s conclusions are astonishing and scary. Furthermore, the disease is more aggressive when diagnosed at a young age which makes early detection even more important. And what is the downside of early detection?

According to Phil Evans, a professor of radiology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and president of the Society for Breast Imaging,

“There’s a ton of scientific data in this country and others on screening that shows a significant benefit for women between 40 and 49 to be screened.”

Apparently, this task force, which receives its funding from the federal government although it is officially an independent group, disagrees.

It is hard not to conclude that this is a sign of things to come when the government gets involved with running a cost-benefit analysis at the expense of a segment of society that will likely bear the burden of its misguided decision-making. It will not be surprising if private insurance companies determine that they no longer have to pick up the tab on tests run outside of the scope of these recommendations. Worse yet will be the ill-informed decision by many women to stop their at home self-exams which add no cost to the medical system other than a follow-up visit to a doctor.
 
What makes the individuals on this task force qualified to tell me that it is not worth a little anxiety in order to prevent breast cancer? I personally would rather undergo a biopsy and find out that the lump that I felt or that showed up in the mammogram is simply a cyst or a calcium deposit than find out months later that I’m in a late-stage of cancer that may not be able to be cured. And I would venture to guess that under Obamacare, a late stage patient of breast cancer will probably not qualify for the costly medical treatments required in order to extend their lives.

While there is no doubt that these guidelines will be controversial and confusing to women, I can only hope that this preview of coming attractions under a government run healthcare system will wake that portion of the population still on board with Obamacare. For the chances of each and every one of them being touched by this disease is great enough that if they continue to support this power grab farce, they may ultimately pay the price with the unnecessary death of a loved one.