The alacrity with which Rep. McMorris Rodgers and her colleagues have impugned the latest recommendations of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force on mammography screening as a prelude to health care rationing is disquieting and disappointing.
The recommendations should be viewed as part of a scientific process aimed at discerning the true benefits and limitations of the tests and procedures currently employed in our medical system.
Many of the “gold standards” of screening or therapy of yesteryear have been discarded over time as newer studies have shown them to be ineffective or plainly injurious.
The current debate should be allowed to continue within the context of stringent analysis of the scientific evidence alone.
If health care costs are indeed to be constrained, many more decisions of this nature lie ahead. If every change is held up to a litmus test of political advantage rather than objective scientific evidence, the process of reforming our health care will fail. We would hope our political leaders would refrain from inflammatory rhetoric that only detracts from serious efforts to provide benefit without doing harm.
Ronald Shapiro, M.D.