The United States has long enjoyed the best cancer survival rates on the planet. This was largely due to early detection via screening for prostate, breast and cervical cancer.
Moreover, until a couple of years ago, all credible experts agreed that such screening should continue. Then came ObamaCare and Washington’s desire to ration health care.
Now the story on screening has changed. Suddenly, the experts aren’t so sure screening is a good idea. How do we know this? Well, because it comes straight from
After decades in which cancer screening was promoted as an unmitigated good, as the best—perhaps only—way for people to protect themselves from the ravages of a frightening disease, a pronounced shift is under way. Now expert groups are proposing less screening for prostate, breast and cervical cancer and have emphasized that screening comes with harms as well as benefits.
Two years ago, the influential United States Preventive Services Task Force, which evaluates evidence and publishes screening guidelines, said that women in their 40s do not appear to benefit from mammograms and that women ages 50 to 74 should consider having them every two years instead of every year.
Two years ago. Hmm …
This year the group said the widely used P.S.A. screening test for prostate cancer does not save lives and causes enormous harm. It also concluded that most women should have Pap tests for cervical cancer every three years instead of every year.
Glenn Reynolds makes the obvious connection:
Many people are concerned that the new ‘science’ that has led to a sudden about-face on testing, coincident with the passage of ObamaCare, is driven by costs rather than patient welfare.
Many people, particularly health care finance types like yours truly, are more than concerned. We see evidence every day that Washington is more interested in money than patient care.
Ironically, this is being done to move away from a market-based system to which lefties often refer as “money-driven medicine.” But that is the perfect description for this anti-screening trend.
Even more ironic, a truly market-based system would have worked the bugs out of the screening process. But our “leaders” and their lickspittles in the MSM are too illiterate in economics to see that.
[ht Paul Hsieh]