Friday, November 20, 2009

Health Care Reform Means Health Care Rationing..

I didn't think we would see it this soon, but the news over the last couple weeks seems to be the first steps towards the slippery slope of health care rationing. First was the news from the "U.S. Preventive Services Task Force" claiming women under 50 don't need mammograms. The news on the radio said the new guidelines were "doctor recommended", but according to, "They did not have anybody on their panel who were experts in the diagnosis or treatment of breast cancer. They did not ask for any public input and their literature search was not subject to peer review."

Then a few days later, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend women in the United States should start cervical cancer screening at age 21 and most do not need an annual Pap smear. They also say women younger than 30 should undergo cervical cancer screening once every two years instead of an annual exam. And those age 30 and older can be screened once every three years.

It is my opinion, but most doctors are "for profit", and testing is one of the easiest money-making opportunities. So I don't see these recommendations actually endorsed by practicing doctors. Plus identifying and preventing full-blown cancer should be paramount in any medical game plan. Saving money now only pushes the expense onto a future administration. (a great political ploy) So in my cynical view, I think this is related to the proposed "health care reform bill", and what are today recommendations, tomorrow will be the law. By getting new recommended guidelines on the table before the health care reform bill passes, makes further changes more acceptable to the population.

So in the coming weeks, I see new recommendations for rectal screening and prostate exams. So instead of grabbing our ankles, we should stock up on turmeric and start grabbing our ankles. (kudos to you if that sentence makes sense to you.)

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