American Elephants


It Begins. California Death Panels Ban Mammograms for Women Under Age 50. by The Elephant's Child

The California Health and Human Services Agency is ending mammogram subsidies for low-income women under age 50.  Under the old rules, women unable to pay could get a subsidy for annual breast-cancer screening beginning at age 40.

The decision by the State of California, which takes effect Jan. 1, follows a federal task force recommendation last month that mammograms before the age of 50 are not generally needed.  As Carly Fiorina notes, the task force does not include any oncologists or radiologists, but simply a bunch of bureaucrats.

HHS Secretary Sibelius, noting the outcry, hastened to say that the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force recommendations were not regulation, and they really didn’t have any say.

California public health  linked the change to the Task Force advisory and also to California’s budget woes.

Breast cancer is a high-profile disease.  Most women know someone who has died of breast cancer.  The only appeal from a government decision is strong opposition.  Congress takes note of opposition if it is loud enough.  But many diseases and conditions are not high-profile, and cost a lot, and under ObamaCare the guidance will not come from your doctor, but from statistics gathered by bureaucrats to see what is cost-effective.

Democrats claim that they will increase preventive care to  control costs.  Studies show that preventive care will not control costs, but increase them.  Democrats don’t know anything whatsoever about controlling costs, or budgeting.  The current health-care bill clearly demonstrates this.

American medicine has always been about saving lives.  Democrat health-care reform is, first of all, about control.  To get that control, they have divided the electorate into groups to whom they promise favors.  Planned Parenthood and feminists demand paid abortions;  members of the Democrat caucus opposed to abortion, demand no paid abortions or they will vote against the bill.  Trial lawyers are second only to labor unions as Democrat donors.  No tort reform, and extra goodies for the unions.  Pleasing everyone means very high costs.  Democrat health-care reform becomes about saving money, and saving money becomes about rationing, because the costs are going to be very high, and rationing is all that’s left.

Republican health-care reform is about individuals, not groups.  They look at where the real problems are in our current health care, and advocate solving the problems before attempting drastic reform.  Doctors freely admit that they practice defensive medicine, ordering more tests than necessary  just to be on the safe side for fear of lawsuits. and nobody really knows how much this costs, but it’s a lot.

Insurance costs differ widely in different states because of requirements imposed by insurance commissioners and legislatures. Opening competition to insurance companies across state lines would bring costs down sharply.  Competition always does.  Bringing the cost of health insurance policies down will make health-care affordable for far more people.  Republicans have all sorts of good ideas.  Correcting the things that are wrong first seems far more sensible than trying to rearrange a big chunk of the economy, with no idea whether any part of it will work at all.

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