Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Health Care Reform bill would enforce unpopular new mammogram guidelines

As it turns out, the new guidelines on mammograms, which are as unpopular with Democrats as they are with Republicans, would be mandated under the current version of the health care reform bill:

The Democrats downplaying the gravity of new recommendations for breast cancer screening have left out an inconvenient fact: their health care bills would automatically adopt them.

Both the House and Senate health reform proposals would force insurance plans to follow the new mammogram guidelines for women ages 50 to 74 as part of a minimum swath of services deemed by the legislation to be medically essential.
Read the rest here.


Susan Weston said...

At present, insurers don't have to cover any mammograms. In the future, under the bills, they'd have to cover some mammograms. The guidelines you dislike would be the bare minimum, but HHS could require additional coverage and insurers would remain free to provide even more coverage than that.

My source is your source. The Weekly Standard article you link to is itself quoting a Washington Independent article that goes on to say:

"Both the House and Senate bills create an “essential benefits package” which all insurance plans would have to offer. Neither chamber’s proposal specifies what those services would be, instead, empowering the Department of Health and Human Services to make those decisions at a later date. But the bills do outline broad categories of minimum services, including a mandate to cover those recommendations of the task force rated “A” or “B.” The new biennial-screening guidelines for 50 to 74 year-olds are rated “B.""

Given a choice between "insurers can cover nothing" and "insurers have to cover some basic screenings," the second option is the better one for getting breast cancer identified early and treated while the survival odds are still good.

Martin Cothran said...


My point was simply the inconsistency between the position of most Democrats and their own health care bill. My own position is that government mandates on what health insurance must cover only serves to further increase the cost of health insurance. I am against government mandates for such things and think this should be handled by the market.