Saturday, November 21, 2009

Chapter 6. Rational, Or Just Plain Rationed? It Has Begun...

Earlier this week we learned that the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, a self-importantly named collection of "private-sector experts in prevention and primary care," sponsored by the HHS's Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, had issued new recommendations for mammogram screening:  no screens until a woman is 50, then every two years, and no self-examinations, ever.

Apparently, the USPSTF influences the way in which insurance companies cover various medical services.  Oddly enough, nearly every oncological organization has expressed various degrees of stupification, confusion, frustration and outright anger at the "private sector experts'"new recommendation, which seems to defy common sense.  Why would one not want to screen for the second highest killer of American women (next to lung cancer)?  It seems that the logic is based part on statistics and partly on the notion that testing earlier is stressful to women.

And yet, according to the American Cancer Society:
"Death rates from breast cancer have been declining since about 1990, with larger decreases in women younger than 50. These decreases are believed to be the result of earlier detection through screening and increased awareness, as well as improved treatment."

Perhaps we are to take solace in the fact that the USPSTF's recommendation would align America with much of the rest of the world, and in particular with current United Nations WHO standards.  Bitter medicine, to say the least, when one compares U.S. health care with our global brethren.

In an instructive article entitled, "10 Surprising Facts about American Health Care," Scott Atlas writes for the National Center for Policy Analysis:
"Breast cancer mortality is 52 percent higher in Germany than in the United States, and 88 percent higher in the United Kingdom...People in countries with more government control of health care are highly dissatisfied and believe reform is needed."
(and references therein)

The correlation between government-controlled health care, and poor delivery of medical services, is apparent even to those of us not on a panel of "private-sector experts."  In every example of government diddling where the free market can and has worked, costs soar and rationing takes place.

Rationing cancer screens is just the warm up.  Democrat leaders are at this very moment preparing to wrest control of health care decisions from the hands of patients and doctors.  Medical rationing will increase, and the State will have yet another way to bend the will of the people to its own.

Quotient out.

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