Wednesday, December 02, 2009

The Feigned Indignation of Barbara Mikulski

Maryland's Senior Senator Barbara Mikulski got all upset the other day over the recent government panel recommendation that discouraged women under the age of 50 from getting annual mammograms. That's fine with me. But the reality is that Mikulski's objection was far from sincere. Had her outrage been based solely in a concern for women's lives her statements regarding the matter would have been far less politically charged and her support for the current Senate health care bill would not be as certain as it remains today.

Addressing the mammogram controversy, Mikulski said:

“ companies may use this new recommendation as yet another reason to deny women coverage for mammograms.”

Sure. They may. But that's really a very backwards way of looking at the matter considering that if they did, it would be because a government panel told them that it was ok to do so.

The recommendations were not made by a group of independent doctors funded by the insurance industry. They came from doctors on a government panel, none of whom had expertise in the area of mammography. The same kind of government panel that will be making recommendations to the Department of Health and Human Services about what kind of care patients are eligible to receive under government run health care and what corners can be cut in order to save money. These types of recommendations are assured once the Health care bill making it's way through congress is hooked up with the mandates for comparative effectiveness research found in the stimulus package.

And Senator Mikulski is going to vote for all of it. Her cover? She turns the tables and attempts to make the insurance industry the bad guy. Sorry Barb. This is a preview of government oversight into women's health issues, not another instance of the dangers of the status quo. A status quo that is second to none in terms of breast cancer survival rates. But the fact that you're still going to vote for the monstrosity currently making its way through the Senate, proves that you really don't care.

I know that putting an end to breast cancer is an issue that many young people--especially young women who have family members or friends who have been afflicted with this terrible disease--care deeply about. But young people continue to be the demographic group supporting Obamacare with the most enthusiasm. You need to wake up. You're being duped into believing that poorly thought out recommendations made by the government can be remedied by giving more power to the people responsible for making those poorly thought out recommendations in the first place. It's ironic that Sen. Mikulski is about to vote to give additional power to the type of group who she sharply criticized just days earlier for putting women's lives at risk.

So come on people. It's time to start watching what the other hand is doing.


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