Republicans on Capitol Hill were sure quick to go after the new federal guidelines recommending that women should seek routine mammograms beginning at age 50 instead of 40. “This is how rationing begins,” Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) said Wednesday on Capitol Hill. “This is when you start getting a bureaucrat between you and your physician. This is what we have warned about.”
Blackburn was joined by GOP Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (Wash.), Sue Myrick (N.C.), Candice Miller (Mich.), Michele Bachmann (Minn.) and Jean Schmidt (Ohio).
Funny, though, that none of the participants has signed on in support of legislation to ensure that all women aged 40 and up have access to routine mammograms. That bill, sponsored by Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), would require insurance companies that cover diagnostic mammograms also to cover routine, annual breast cancer screenings for all women 40 and older.
Only one Republican, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Fla.), is among the 79 co-sponsors of Nadler’s bill.
The message from the Republicans seems to be: We’re wary of the government recommending fewer tests based on independent research, but it’s OK for private insurance companies, driven by profit motives, to deny access to the same services.