Recent Limitations on Mammograms Provide Glimpse into the Next Step for Zack Space’s Government Health Care Program

The Titanic is steaming ahead and the iceberg is in sight. Will we ignore the warning signs and pretend the collision won’t do much damage?

The Titanic in this case is the $1.3 trillion government health care program passed this month with the support of our liberal Democrat congressman, Zack Space. Space’s program will increase the role of the federal government in your day-to-day life. The iceberg is the massive power transferred to bureaucrats who will eventually determine what medical services we can get. Like the tip of an iceberg, Space’s program doesn’t look scary at first glance, but the danger runs far.

This week, the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force, which included no cancer specialists, issued a report recommending that long-time guidelines for breast cancer screening be reversed. They said most women under 50 shouldn’t have a mammogram, thus eliminating the use of the best tool we have to detect breast cancer in its beginning stages. The panel then told women age 50 to 74 to only get mammograms every other year, instead of every year. The panel also determined that there’s no cost benefit for elderly women to have mammograms at all.

The cruel irony of this heartless decision being announced this week was made clear by the passing of Stefanie Spielman. Stefanie raged a courageous battle against breast cancer for more than a decade, while raising awareness and millions of dollars for research to find a cure. Sadly, Stefanie left her husband, Ohio State football standout Chris Spielman, to raise their four children alone.

Like most Ohioans, my own life has been touch by the struggles and losses caused by breast cancer. I’m thankful that my aunt is a survivor but have also experienced the devastating loss of one of my best friends and another aunt.

What’s most troubling about the federal panel’s recommendations is that they are based mainly on cost saving. This is a harbinger of things to come, given Zack Space’s support of the controversial legislation that will invite federal bureaucrats to use similar cost-saving measures to affect your family’s health care.

Zack Space and his liberal Democrat cohorts in Washington say they want to provide more health coverage to millions of Americans, a worthy goal if only there were money available to pay for it. Because the federal government doesn’t have that money, panels like the one reducing mammograms will undoubtedly try to cut costs by limiting other medical procedures.

Congresswoman Candice Miller of Michigan noted that when cost is considered, the question becomes “why have all these mammograms because it is very costly, they could test 2,000 women and only one is positive. I guess it doesn’t matter. If you’re the one, it matters.” Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee went further, pointing out “This is how rationing begins…and this is where we start getting a bureaucrat between you and your physician.”

James Thrall, a Harvard medical professor and chairman of the American College of Radiology said, “I fear we are entering an era of deliberate decisions where we choose to trade people’s lives for money.”

And if you don’t think the Zack Space government health program will lead to a complete government takeover of healthcare, you need only to recall the promise made by Zack Space’s friend and ally, Barack Obama. Speaking to the labor union AFL-CIO in 2003, Mr. Obama said “I happen to be a proponent of a single-payer universal health care program … a single-payer health care plan, a universal health care plan. And that’s what I’d like to see. But as all of you know, we may not get there immediately. Because first we have to take back the White House, we have to take back the Senate, and we have to take back the House.”

Now that Zack Space and Barack Obama have their Democrat majorities in place, they can finally achieve Mr. Obama’s government run health care. The only thing standing in their way is us — you and me. We cannot afford for medical decisions to be treated as merely a matter of dollars. We must turn the ship around.

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