Today, on National Public Radio's Diane Rehm show http://wamu.org/...
the assistant director of the federally sanctioned task force: the U.S. Preventive Service Task Force, which falls under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Dr. Diana Petitti of A.S.U. stated that there were no insurance company representatives on the board but then appeared to contradict herself as she gave a disclaimer: that there was indeed one member who is the director of "Health Partners" http://www.healthpartners.com/... a Minnesota based HMO, that does sit on the task force or was associated with its decision.
Also, Diane Rehm in her show examining a controversial decision on breast cancer exams by a federally sanctioned task force had on three other guests: the second guest was: Dr. Rebecca Zuurbier, director of breast imaging, The Sullivan Center for Breast Health at Sibley Memorial Hospital . The third guest on Mrs. Rehm's show was: Arthur Caplan, professor of bioethics and philosophy, University of Pennsylvania. And the fourth guest was: Nancy Dubler, senior associate, Montefiore-Einstein Bioethics Center consultant for ethics, New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation.
For the most part throughout the interview Dr. Diana Petitti faced skeptical questions from Mrs. Rehm and two of the other three guests. Dr. Kaplan stated that in effect para-phrasing: the task force had decided that even though lives were being saved with breast cancer exams for women over 40 but not yet 50 that not enough lives were being saved to justify the cost of the breast cancer exams.
The other guest, Dr. Rebecca Zuurbier said that, paraphrasing: a great dis-service was being done by this task force decision and that women would die because they would think that they did not have to be screened for breast cancer since they were not yet 50. Caller response was almost overwhelmingly against the Task Force's decision on breast cancer screening with one caller stating: that she was outraged that they were "trying to cloak in a courageous banner" their decision. One caller believed that the decision illustrated that there was sexism in medicine and Dr. Kaplan agreed. Dr. Kaplan, believed that even if they had found it to be cheaper to not have mammographies fro women over 40 but below 50 that it would be very hard to try and take this medical benefit away because once something so important and beneficial had been given out it was almost impossible to take it back.
I took from this last remark of Dr. Kaplan that he believed that this task force decision was indeed just a ploy to save money from not giving so many breast exams, even if more women would die because of it.
Finally, Dr. Zurbier made the profound statement that: "That there's nothing morally courageous about saying don't examine your breasts".
In short, Dr. Kaplan and Dr. Zuurbier seemed to be saying that this Task Force decision to limit mammograms was really a cost ratio benefit analysis and not really about saving the lives of those who have or might get breast cancer. And of course, the stunning revelation that one of the members of this Task Force who made or helped make this controversial decision on breast cancer screenings is a medical director of "Health Partners" !