I can’t remember the last time I was this angry. The federal government, those folks that want to take over my “health care” says I should wait to get a mammogram. They have, with this guideline, begun the first step in denying care to women. And you can bet Nancy Pelosi’s plane it’s all about the money.
THIS IS ABOUT MONEY AND THIS IS ABOUT CHOICE.
Some may say that the science supports changing the guidelines. But if a woman’s doctor disagrees, her opinion won’t matter once insurance companies use these guidelines to start turning down mammograms. Insurance companies and, should the Senate have the temerity to pass the Health Care bill, government workers will decide if it’s worth their money for a woman in her forties to have a test that could save her life.
Experience proves it. Try to get a mammogram if you’re under forty. Even with a family history of breast cancer, most insurance companies will deny you. Now, with new federal guidelines calling it “unnecessary” for women under 50, it won’t be long before women in our forties are being turned down.
And survival outcome isn’t the only issue. Last month, I had an abnormal mammogram. I had some subsequent tests and, in the end, my results were benign, although I now have a marker that will allow my doctor to locate that “trouble spot” and keep an eye out for any further changes. To be honest, the first question that I asked myself wasn’t “Am I going to die?” With early diagnosis, breast cancer survival rates are very high. The first thought that went through my head was “Oh God, please don’t let them want to take my breast.” A friend who helped me through the process said that’s what she thought when, in her early forties, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. (Caught by an “unnecessary mammogram.)
The government guidelines talk about survival outcome, but breast cancer detection isn’t just about survival outcome. Treatment options are far greater and less aggressive with early detection. Most women would do whatever they could to avoid radical surgeries and treatments. Mammographies are a good place to start.
For this government to say that they can “fix” health care and then recommend lessening the availability of critical diagnostic tools that absolutely can and do save women is an affront to all women. There should be no question that this recommendation will be used to cut costs by denying mammographies to women who breasts and lives could be saved by them.
My health is my responsibility. My choices should be between me and my doctor. Combining recommendations such as this with a government health care system threatens to put my health, my care, and my choice in the hands of some government worker who worked his way up from the post office. The government already plays fast and loose with my money. I’ll fight like hell before they play that way with my health.
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Pallone's Town Hall Meeting, Red Bank, August 25, 2009