Why Obamacare will Fail, in 1 word.
That's what Obama's knucklehead head of HHS said about mammogram screening. The policy will remain unchanged.
That comes in the face of many studies, mostly supported, from what I've read, by physicians and organizations involved with this type of cancer, which suggest less screening is necessary. The arguments are a little complex, but boil down to:
1) too many screenings don't change mortality rates (because we don't know enough about what kinds of lumps actually become deadly.
2) too many screenings cause harm, both by radiation exposure and by increasing the number of procedures performed that aren't necessary.
Of course, if you or a loved one finds a lump in a breast, you don't want to be told it's probably OK. You want it out, or taken care of -- even if there's no concrete proof that this will bring better health. And therefore, of course, people want screening as often as someone else will pay for it, so that more lumps are caught, more often.
The patients feel better (or think they do). The providers get to cover their butts, even if they don't think the screens are always necessary. The radiology industry likes it, because of that ching ching sound. And politicians like it, because it makes them sound like they're protecting the downtrodden against whatever strawman they choose to torch, in this case, a task force made up of researchers and health care professionals who care very much about women.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, in a written statement, said the new guidelines had "caused a great deal of confusion and worry among women and their families across this country," and she stressed that they were issued by "an outside independent panel of doctors and scientists who . . . do not set federal policy and . . . don't determine what services are covered by the federal government."
She added: "My message to women is simple. Mammograms have always been an important life-saving tool in the fight against breast cancer and they still are today. Keep doing what you have been doing for years -- talk to your doctor about your individual history, ask questions, and make the decision that is right for you."
And that's why Obamacare will fail. Sebelius is clearly pandering on Obamas behalf. "Ignore the findings of the task force we ourselves assembled! If you think you know better than a team of experts, then so be it! Get tested as often as makes you feel better!"
Our healthcare system is already doomed because no one wants to make the hard decisions on what procedures are necessary and should be paid for. That's why the sky's the limit, and insurance premiums follow.
Politicians, however, are the absolute worst people for this job, and not because of the "death panel" argument promoted by boneheads on the right who are avoiding facts to score points with scare tactics. It's for the opposite reason. No politician anywhere is going to endorse any decision that looks like it will result in less care -- even if there are perfectly sound medical reasons for doing so.
It's not the death panel you need to fear, but the "everything if that's what you want" panel that already exists in government, and will get more power if health care reform is done wrong.
Of course, we have only ourselves to thank for this. We've elected people who are letting policy be set by Fox News.
By Tuesday night, the rationing argument had made it to Fox News, prompting a quick response on an administration blog.
By demanding care we don't understand, and might not need, simply because we seek to avoid worry, we're telling our providers, "Run up the bill!" And when we do that, we guarantee we'll be paying that bill (and our neighbors') through increased premiums. And neither Democrats nor Republicans have a solution for this, because unless you are prepared to foot your entire health care bill out of pocket, the solution is rationing. It has always been rationing. That's what the private insurers do already, and it's what any public insurer will have to do. Everyone can't have everything. It's that simple. But to say so on the health care debate is political suicide, which is why insurance companies (no saints, but not very profitable either) are the targets of all the beatings. They're the only ones who dare admit that choices have to be made.
It is sometimes said that people get the government they deserve. In this case, we should add that Americans have gotten the bankrupting health-care system they deserve. If they want it otherwise, they should consider the possibility that everything costs something, and everyone can't have everything.
Yeah, I won't hold my breath either.