© Miri WTPOTUS November 17, 2009 (UPDATED)
Yesterday, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) issued new guidelines for screening mammography and breast self-exams. Suddenly, yearly mammograms are no longer necessary for women under 40 or over 75, and no woman need perform breast self-examinations.
Does anybody smell (yet another) rat? Or should I say RATioning?
The USPSTF is funded by the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, part of the DHHS, but this group operates independent of the government (supposedly). The task force consists of doctors and staff: http://www.ahrq.gov/clinic/uspstfab.htm
The convoluted connections between this task force and other government or quasi-governmental agencies would put ACORN to shame. The USPSTF is also connected with Evidence-Based Practice Centers, some of which are in Canada! Coming soon, to a country near you: Canadian-style healthcare. http://www.ahrq.gov/clinic/epc/
Here’s my favorite line from their webpage: “Synthesizing scientific evidence to improve quality and effectiveness in health care.” In other words, figuring out how to spin and RATionalize RATioning of your health services, after we make sure that we, the unaccountable, control all aspects of your “care”. After we make sure that we destroy private insurance and force everybody into one-size-fits-all (it’s only fair) ObamaCare.
Your hard-earned tax dollars at work. Isn’t it special that the very first trial balloon for ObamaCare RATioning affects WOMEN? Did the “Deadly Doctors” have something to do with the timing of the rollout for these new guidelines? How sensitive of them to wait until November, when Breast Cancer Awareness month is over. In this article http://www.defendyourhealthcare.us/images/Deadly_Doctors_7-24-09_.pdf
Betsy McCaughey states, “The bills being rushed through Congress will be paid for largely by a $500 billion-plus cut in Medicare over 10 years. Knowing how unpopular the cuts will be, the president’s budget director, Peter Orszag, urged Congress this week to delegate its own authority over Medicare to a new, presidentially-appointed bureaucracy that wouldn’t be accountable to the public.”
WARN GRANDMA AND GRANDPA!
In another article, Betsy McCaughey says, “Sec. 1302 (pp. 672-692) moves Medicare from a fee-for-service payment system, in which patients choose which doctors to see and doctors are paid for each service they provide, toward what’s called a ‘medical home.’
The medical home is this decade’s version of HMO-restrictions on care. A primary-care provider manages access to costly specialists and diagnostic tests for a flat monthly fee. The bill specifies that patients may have to settle for a nurse practitioner rather than a physician as the primary-care provider [emphasis added]. Medical homes begin with demonstration projects, but the HHS secretary is authorized to ‘disseminate this approach rapidly on a national basis.’” http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704795604574519671055918380.html
How many seniors or soon-to-be seniors realize that not only won’t they be able to choose their doctor, they may NO LONGER EVEN SEE a doctor? A “nurse practitioner” may be their gatekeeper–the person who decides whether or not they see any doctor, much less a specialist.
Obama advisor Robert Reich said, “We’re going to have to, if you’re very old, we’re not going to give you all that technology and all those drugs for the last couple of years of your life to keep you maybe going for another couple of months. It’s too expensive…so we’re going to let you die.”
Or maybe first we’ll make sure that you’re going to die because we’re not going to pay for the screening tests that might diagnose your condition early enough to prevent your death. That way, not only won’t we have to pay for care to extend your life (because now you’re terminal), when you die we won’t have to pay your Social Security benefits (because we spent all your money, anyway)! But we may help you die. http://www.ahrq.gov/research/endliferia/endria.htm You can go to a hospice, but don’t expect to see any doctors there, either. From McCaughey’s WSJ piece: “Sec. 1114 (pp. 391-393) replaces physicians with physician assistants [emphasis added] in overseeing care for hospice patients.”
Quiz question: To what union will these nurse practitioners and physician assistants (not so voluntarily) belong? Did you guess SEIU?
These agencies scored $1.1 billion from the porkulus bill, even though “healthcare reform” isn’t through Congress yet. All this money for comparative clinical effectiveness research! $300 million for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and $400 million each for HHS and NIH. What say you about this newest outrage? And open thread, too.
UPDATE 11/18/09: Have you noticed that there is not even one oncologist or radiologist on that task force? These are the people who would know how important early detection is. These are the people who treat women with breast cancer and save their lives by detecting their condition early enough to cure it. The current spin, doubtless because this is an inconvenient controversy for Reid, Pelosi, and Obama, consists of telling us that this task force is not part of the government and that the members are independent “volunteers”. (I bet.) Yet the government funds the task force, with our tax dollars, so how can it be completely independent of politics? This is the predecessor to the “independent” board, to be appointed by the POTUS, which will be put in charge of everyone’s health care if (God forbid) ObamaCare becomes a reality.
The current USPSTF includes an epidemiologist, a professor of biomedical informatics (?!), a Ph.D who’s a professor of public health, pediatricians, a Ph.D/R.N. and another who’s also a dean of nursing, and a professor of, among other things, health economics. In fact, it appears that most of these people are “professors” or “directors”, so one wonders how close they are or lately have been to the trenches.
I’ll end with comments by a woman who is in the trenches: Dr. Catherine Beal, a radiologist at St. Anthony’s Medical Center in St. Louis County, MO (from stltoday.com):
“To me it sounds like they’re taking women under the age of 50 and saying, ‘We’re not going to teach you to do breast exams, we’re not going to screen you, so if you get it, sorry, tough, you’re dead.”
She also said, referring to false positives, “Yes, there is anxiety, but are you telling me women aren’t strong enough to take that, in exchange for diagnosing breast cancer early and saving their life?”
UPDATE 10/23/2011 Medicare and Medicaid patients–Say goodbye to your doctors! Say hello to your “nurse practitioner” and “other non-physicians.” As predicted:
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced Tuesday that it will scrap certain rules for hospitals and similar facilities. The changes are in response to President Obama’s call for agencies to find and eliminate unnecessary regulations.
CMS Administrator Don Berwick said the agency is eliminating several specific requirements, such as a rule requiring multiple hospitals in the same system to have their own governing boards. By letting hospitals set their own management structures, he said, CMS will help them free up money for other priorities.
CMS also is eliminating rules that require rural hospitals to perform many tests in-house — they’ll now be allowed to outsource such work. Other changes will eliminate restrictions on the work that nurse practitioners and other non-physicians can do.
They’re actually doing it to save money, to free up money for more “worthy” purposes than letting the elderly or the poor actually SEE DOCTORS. They may not even get to see a NURSE! “Non-physicians” may be caring for you now. Isn’t Obamacare wonderful? What next, Rosie the Robot Doctor?