Thursday, November 19, 2009

Those Boobs In Washington

By Grace Cangemi

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.


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.


Anonymous said...

There's a very important point missed with all of this. Those that can afford the $600 for the mammography will get them done any way - they'll just pay for it. Those that can't afford it won't get early detection.......

Anonymous said...

those that can afford it will still wait in line, and the most important point is that the stupid GOV'T will decide who, and if, and whether, and there will simply NOT be enough to go around and enough doctors to do/read them.. this is the end of this country.. these people need to be tried for treason.. hope they can't get to vote Sat. night- it's the worst fraud and disgace ever perpetrated on America.. keep e-mailing and calling for 1 more day, people!

Chris said...

"My health is my responsibility."
This falls in line with my healthcare plan: "I pay for my healthcare, you pay for yours". People should remember to take more responsibility for all their actions, needs, and payments. You can't always expect others to pay for your expenses, be them related to housing, food or medical care.

Grace Cangemi said...

Chris - You are absolutely right. The system, however, has made that nearly impossible and Obamacare will make it worse. When I was going for my tests, I repeatedly called my doctor, my insurance agent, my insurance carrier, and the hospital to get clarification on how much each procedure would cost. Because the cost varied depending upon the billing codes issued by the provider and the different contracts the insurance company had, after 7 hours of phone calls, I could not get an answer prior to testing. "What will it cost?" should be an easy question to answer. Until it is, being responsible for one's own care becomes nearly impossible. Imagine when we add a few government bureaucrats to the mix.

Because I am a responsible person, whatever these charges end up being, I will pay. How much easier it would be if I could have made an informed decision that made sense medically and financially. I am certain that more government involvement and a higher percentage of people who don't view their own medical care as their personal responsibility will make this much, much worse.

Anonymous said...

I am outraged! As it is now Medicare Prescription plans decide what medications I am allowed. Day to day what is covered changes and the cost changes. As a cancer survivor I am being punished because I cannot take generic drugs. Oh they will cover them but it will be cost prohibitive. It is an affront to all. Starting to sound like a Socialist system.
Now the government wants to control mammographys! That is scary!

Anonymous said...

again, the only hope is to dump these treasonous bastards next year, so it can be overturned by sensible people before it kicks in!

Anonymous said...

Grace, what do think should be done for the millions of Americans who lack health insurance?