Tags: Healthcare | Obama | public

Mammogram Decision Could Kill 11,500 Women

Monday, 07 Dec 2009 03:04 PM


The best possible example of the kinds of conflicts that will increasingly undermine the US health care system if Obama's bill passes is the effect of the federal government's advice to women under 49 to abstain from mammograms. What may make sense from a national perspective that focuses on the need to control costs makes no sense from the perspective of a woman trying to avoid dying from breast cancer and her family.

Do the math. Medical literature basically agrees that mammogram screening for women aged 40-49 will save the lives of one woman for every 1,900 screened. There are 21.9 million American women between those ages. That means that 11,500 women will die of breast cancer who would have lived had they been screened during those years.

To the bureaucrats in Washington, that may be an acceptable loss ratio. It may make no sense to those who will run our health care system to encourage women under 49 to have mammograms. But now we can always disregard their advice and pay for the procedure. However, if Obama's program passes, the Federal Health Board will doubtless enforce the now advisory recommendation and ban mammograms for women from 40-49. Even if they pay for it themselves.

While we may disagree on when life begins - at conception or at birth - but we can all agree that it doesn't end until death, much less in one's 40s. The decision to condemn 11,500 women in their 40s to die of breast cancer smacks of euthanasia or worse. It has no place in our society.

© Dick Morris & Eileen McGann

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