God Forbid We Follow The Science!

We just might have the stupidest legislature on Earth:

The Democrats’ health care bill would generally require insurers to provide preventive treatment recommended by the expert panel, the United States Preventive Services Task Force. But lawmakers in both parties made clear that they wanted doctors to decide when a mammogram is medically necessary and that insurers should be required to cover the cost if the procedure is needed.

“There’s much discussion about whether or not you should get a particular service at a particular age,” Ms. Mikulski said during the floor debate. “We don’t mandate that you get a service. We leave that up to a decision made with the woman and her doctor.”

Republicans, in Ms. Murkowski’s amendment and in a separate amendment by Mr. Vitter, specifically sought to set aside the task force recommendations on mammograms and to bar the federal government from relying on the findings. Mr. Vitter’s amendment was adopted without a vote on Wednesday night.

That’s right. By law, we can’t follow the guidelines of an independent, scientific, medical commission. God help us.

God Forbid We Follow The Science!

0 thoughts on “God Forbid We Follow The Science!

  1. Jeff says:

    There is nothing independent about a Government Task Force and explain how any increase in government activity can save you money. The government does nothing but spend money.


  2. Jeff, you’re adorable. I pinch your cheeks.

    Is your claim that “there is nothing independent about a Government Task Force” specific to government bodies? Or is it simply a world-weary claim that no one is ever truly free of biases? If the former, that’s pretty obviously wrong. If the latter, that’s pretty obviously unhelpful.

    I don’t even know what you’re on about with the second half of your comment. It seems unrelated to the topic of the post.


  3. doc says:

    jeff. if the facts are on your side stress the facts. if the law -or in this case, the science is on your side stress the law – or science. if neither then pound the table . or engage in ad hominum attacks. i guess you are reduced to the third option


  4. JDM says:

    I’ll come to Jeff’s aid, this is the commission
    Current members of the Task Force are listed below. They have recognized expertise in prevention, evidence-based medicine, and primary care.

    Bruce N. Calonge, M.D., M.P.H. (Chair)
    Chief Medical Officer and State Epidemiologist
    Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Denver, CO

    Diana B. Petitti, M.D., M.P.H. (Vice Chair)
    Professor of Biomedical Informatics
    Fulton School of Engineering
    Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ

    Susan Curry, Ph.D.
    Dean, College of Public Health
    Distinguished Professor
    University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA

    Allen J. Dietrich, M.D.
    Professor, Community and Family Medicine
    Dartmouth Medical School, Hanover, NH

    Thomas G. DeWitt, M.D.
    Carl Weihl Professor of Pediatrics
    Director of the Division of General and Community Pediatrics
    Department of Pediatrics, Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH

    Kimberly D. Gregory, M.D., M.P.H.
    Director, Maternal-Fetal Medicine and Women’s Health Services Research
    Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA

    David Grossman, M.D., M.P.H.
    Medical Director, Preventive Care and Senior Investigator, Center for Health Studies, Group Health Cooperative
    Professor of Health Services and Adjunct Professor of Pediatrics
    University of Washington, Seattle, WA

    George Isham, M.D., M.S.
    Medical Director and Chief Health Officer
    HealthPartners, Minneapolis, MN

    Michael L. LeFevre, M.D., M.S.P.H.
    Professor, Department of Family and Community Medicine
    University of Missouri School of Medicine, Columbia, MO

    Rosanne Leipzig, M.D., Ph.D
    Professor, Geriatrics and Adult Development, Medicine, Health Policy
    Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY

    Lucy N. Marion, Ph.D., R.N.
    Dean and Professor, School of Nursing
    Medical College of Georgia, Augusta, GA

    Joy Melnikow, M.D., M.P.H.
    Professor, Department of Family and Community Medicine
    Associate Director, Center for Healthcare Policy and Research
    University of California Davis, Sacramento, CA

    Bernadette Melnyk, Ph.D., R.N., C.P.N.P./N.P.P.
    Dean and Distinguished Foundation Professor in Nursing
    College of Nursing & Healthcare Innovation
    Arizona State University, Phoenix, AZ

    Wanda Nicholson, M.D., M.P.H., M.B.A.
    Associate Professor
    Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD

    J. Sanford (Sandy) Schwartz, M.D.
    Leon Hess Professor of Medicine, Health Management, and Economics
    University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and Wharton School, Philadelphia, PA

    Timothy Wilt, M.D., M.P.H.
    Professor, Department of Medicine, Minneapolis VA Medical Center
    University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN

    So what you see are people with specialties in anything except oncology…… making recommendations about oncology preventative treatments that should only be made BY THE DOCTOR AND THEIR PATIENT. Not yelling just making sure that my point is clear. No commission should be making health care decisions for the patients. They may and should be able to provide guidance but ultimately the decision rests with the patient. That is the point of the legislature’s actions.


    1. JDM, I think I see a confusion here. We’re not talking about preventive treatments, or in fact any kind of treatment at all.

      We’re talking about guidelines for screenings. Of course, once a cancer has been detected, and one is being treated, one’s doctor will have a unique perspective on your course of care (although even then he or she should be informed by the best science and research available.)

      If your doctor believes you are at higher risk and therefore should get screened more often, then you’ll get screened. But these guidelines are talking about routine screenings for the population at large, and the experts assembled seem to be up to the job.


  5. JDM says:

    I would disagree about whether they’re experts in the field that they’re being asked to give guidelines on. Most of the reports I’ve seen regarding Dr’s in the oncology field have said they don’t agree with the commissions recommendations. As to whether they’re up to the job I just have to wonder why the commission wasn’t comprised of more Dr’s in the actual field. If I wanted to get an accurate determination about the best motor oil to use in a Yamaha racing motorcycle I wouldn’t bring in only automobile, boat, and plane mechanics and engineers. While they’re expertise would be substantial in their respective fields and certainly measurable in motor’s in general I would at least bring in an actual motorcycle mechanic and perhaps even a Yamaha engineer…..or 2.

    I also think it is about preventative treatments. Screenings are early detection and preventative measures. Every visit a patient makes to a Dr, would in my opinion be a “preventative” treatment.


    1. At this point you seem to arguing that mammograms prevent breast cancer, which is a pretty awesome line of argument. I’m tempted to leave it there.


      I really just want to go back to why we’re having this argument in the first place. Did you examine the commission’s report and find an error in their methodology? Do you think there are flaws in the data they relied on? Do you think that, had there been an oncologist on the panel, their statistical analysis of health outcomes and costs would have come to a different result?

      I suspect, rather, that you are (like many people! understandably!) reflexively opposed to a suggestion that sometimes, in medicine, more is not always better. But that, really, inarguably, is the case in this instance and many others. Broad mammography leads, inevitably, to some number of false positives, and those are associated with unecessary, painful, expensive, and potentially risky procedures. The determination of this panel was that, when you balance out the risks and the benefits, the benefits don’t outweigh the risks at age 40. They seem to at age 50.

      Why is that so horrible?


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