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Task force report brings unneeded health concerns PDF Print E-mail

By Jan Schultz, The Imperial Republican News Editor

Leave it to a “panel of experts” to cause another unneeded controversy in health care.
However, I’m not so sure that there isn’t something else going on here now that health care is at the forefront in the U.S. Senate, and recently in the House.
Earlier this month, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force alarmed many in the medical community and women across the country with its recommendation on mammograms.
Those of us who keep up on these screenings and follow them for the sake of our health have lived by the rule that yearly mammograms should start at age 40.
However, the task force report recommends that those screenings for women under the age of 50, without a history of the disease in their family, now only need to be done every other year.
Naturally, it alarmed many in the medical community who fear an increase in mortality from breast cancer. There is story after story of women who were diagnosed with breast cancer in their 40s and younger. I know several women here in Imperial who went through breast cancer in their 40s and earlier.
Digital mammograms are also getting better and better at detection as the equipment improves.
Those who lend support to the less-often mammogram screenings cite the fact that mortality rates from breast cancer are higher in older women so the “under 40” screenings aren’t needed as often.  
There is also a lot of evidence that many people undergo a lot of unneeded tests that cost money.
That all may be true, but in this particular cancer, self-exams and regular doctor visits for additional examination are also encouraged as prevention techniques.
Will those exams also be less important now, too, with less-often mammogram screenings being done in younger women?
It’s also the timing of this recommendation that bothers me.
As our U.S. Senators now debate health care reform, one big question is how all of the “reform” will be paid for as millions more people become insured.
No clear answers are out there on how the billions and billions of dollars will be found, but if you believe you’ll be paying less for what coverage you now have, don’t be fooled.
Many health insurance policies cover the cost of mammograms now, but those benefits could be cut in half for women under 40 if insurance companies go by the task force recommendations. Why wouldn’t insurance companies do that?
Did you know that among the proposals to help pay for the health care “reform” are additional taxes placed on insurance companies?    
And who do you think will get those cost increases passed on to them? Welcome to health care “reform.”