On Wednesday, a group of women GOP lawmakers held a press conference to denounce a new recommendation by the federal Preventive Services Task Force that women receive mammograms less frequently. “This is how rationing begins,” said Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN). “This is the little toe in the edge of the water.”
“Women in particular may lose a great deal of clout in decision making,” said Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN). “We don’t know how far government will go in this bureaucracy,” she added, noting that they “want to empower women” and “want to have all the data on the table so individuals can make the best decision they can.”
On MSNBC this afternoon, Dr. Nancy Snyderman took Blackburn to task for getting the “public health message lost in the politics.” “Now, there’s nothing that came out of this panel recommending rationing,” said Snyderman. “Just a prudent use of screening tests.” When Blackburn tried to claim that the guidelines meant “bureaucrats deciding what they’re going to allow,” Snyderman pointed out that Blackburn was acting as a “bureaucrat” standing between patients and “the best possible evidence”:
BLACKBURN: It is troubling also that another of our colleagues has said many times, we. And that we means bureaucrats deciding what they’re going to allow.
SNYDERMAN: But you’re one of those bureaucrats. You’re my bureaucrat!
BLACKBURN: But I’m not, no. And you see, I don’t think a bureaucrat should be between a patient and a doctor. See, I don’t want to be that bureaucrat.
SNYDERMAN: Excuse me, I think that’s exactly where you are right now.
As the Washington Independent’s Mike Lillis notes, the concern of the congresswomen about rationed mammograms is especially ironic considering that they oppose legislation that “would require insurance companies that cover diagnostic mammograms also to cover routine, annual breast cancer screenings for all women 40 and older.”