November 18th, 2009
04:04 PM ET

What’s behind new mammogram recommendations?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/11/18/doctorpatient.jpg caption="What's behind new mammogram recommendations?"]

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty

The Obama administration now says that federal advisory board's recommendation on mammograms is not government policy and has caused "a great deal of confusion." No kidding.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was out sweeping up today–saying mammograms remain an important life-saving tool in fighting breast cancer.. and that women should talk to their doctors and make the decision that is best for them.

But the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force said Monday that women in their forties shouldn't get routine mammograms. They claimed this was meant to reduce over-treatment... and that many women experience false positives, anxiety and unnecessary biopsies.

They said mammograms saved one life for every 1,900 women screened. Turns out this panel is made up of sixteen health care experts... none of them are oncologists.

What the hell is going on? We have a federal advisory panel making recommendations about breast cancer and there is no one on the panel who is an oncologist?

And think about this: While the Preventative Services Task Force is independent, the Department of Health and Human Services Web site calls the panel's recommendations, "the gold standard."

And insurance companies look to the panel for guidance on which preventive care practices they should cover.

Is it becoming clear now what's going on here?

Cancer experts and the American Cancer Society immediately rejected these new guidelines… with some critics asking if insurance companies would use these new recommendations to justify denying mammogram coverage for women in their forties.

Republicans are pouncing on this – saying it's a sign of rationing health care.

One doctor told the New York Times: "My patients tell me they can live with a little anxiety and distress, but they can't live with a little cancer."

SO HERE's MY QUESTION FOR YOU: What do you think is behind new recommendations for mammograms?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Don in Muskegon, Michigan
Looks like the insurance lobby is at it again! Trying to get a position before any health care reform is passed. Just think: another pre-existing condition. Do we as citizens of this wonderful country ever catch a break against big bucks?

Eric in Houston
I wish I knew, Jack. Great stuff though for the death panel crowd, since it certainly could be made to look like a trial balloon for the rationing of a common, but costly, procedure. If so, it was pretty ham-handed. No actual experts on the expert panel? Does that sound like Washington, I ask you.

More than likely, it's an adjustment to Obama's new health care plan. I expect that next E.R. care for heart attacks will be optional.

Bree in New York
Not to sound paranoid, but is there anyone asking whether members of that panel are hoping to derail health care reform? Trying not to look like Mr. Beck, with my aluminum foil hat at the ready, but the timing of their recommendation seems suspicious. Might I ask how many health insurance professionals are on this board, compared to the ZERO oncologists?

Jack, I have an ex-girlfriend who is in the hospital right now, dying from brain cancer that spread from undiagnosed breast cancer while on Medicaid. In February 2007, she had an emergency double mastectomy. She had begged for almost 2 years for a mammogram and didn’t receive it until she produced visible tangible evidence of the cancer. Then it was too late.

These recommendations will solve one thing: those with insurance will now know how it feels to be like those without (those who cannot afford preventative care).

What boobs are in charge of the health of my boobs?

Filed under: Health care
soundoff (195 Responses)
  1. Kathy Warner

    I am quite shocked by this recommendation. We have known for years that this early detection is an effective way to catch early cancerous tumors in women. In the long run, this is not only more life saving for those women, but it is much less costly. The people who will be most affected by this change? The poor. Those with funds will continue to have the screeings done. Interesting–because Obama has spoken–at least in public–about leveling the care to all groups in the country.

    November 18, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  2. Deborah T. of Ohio

    Jack, you keep adding to the confusion by saying that the recommendation was for women OVER 40 to NOT have mammograms. The recommendation was just the opposite. Anyway, I disagree with both, your incorrect statement and the recommendation from the panel.

    November 18, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  3. Gigi Oregon

    This is what happens when the government lets corporate America run our country. It's probably a new way to build on researcher for those who don't get screening. And what about those H1N1 Vaccines that corporate businesses can get, but not my doctors clinic.
    Whats behind the new recommendations? Money.

    November 18, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  4. Kurt

    I have had multiplying chronic, disabling, life threatening disease(s) since the age of 17. Bought my own insurance since 21 and worked in fields that I have no bundles of money. Never had once had a procedure declined and any medications disallowed – quickly within days – allowed because I failed on others that were inexpensive. The expensive ones overprescribed when not really needed.. when the cheaper ones do the same, better or proven to work. Oddly enough – a medication $5000 per month does not work better than $6 medication. There are 4 blood tests oer year – the less than $1000 for the year. But when did the American people become such thinskinned, the sky is falling about something which is a recommendatiion. Maybe because every bag of anything has the "pink ribbon" on it right now reminding us of breast cancer.. or the poorly managed health something care something reform. If you want the test – get the dammmmmed test! Enough.. find the real issues that are really doing something – nothing now.

    November 18, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  5. Stephanie Keller

    I have breast cancer. I still am having trouble getting the mammogram that I need. Can you imagine how it's going to be for women who don't have it or don't know they have it yet? Breast cancer isn't limited to age 50 and above. Who's stupid idea was this? And yes, it is already affecting how women are getting mammograms before this change in recommendation. They are just trying to save money and not lives as usual. And people think there is not a need for insurance reform? WAKE UP!

    November 18, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  6. frankie

    This is clearly Murphy's Law at work. Just because the Administration is trying to give us decent fair health care, of course someone would come up with this half-baked idea and act like everyone in the Administration agreed on it.

    November 18, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  7. Janne from NC

    I think it says that under a government run health care plan that 1 woman in 1900 dying of breast cancer is odds they can live with. I sure am glad as a breast cancer survivor that at 30 years old I performed one of those unnecessary self exams and found the lump that kept me from being that 1.

    November 18, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  8. Susan

    Has anyone looked into just who the members of the NCI panel are and whether they are connected in any way to any insurance company in the US?

    This 'recommendation' will ultimately cause insurance companies to discontinue payments for mammograms for women in their 40s and in turn will save insurance companies MILLIONS of dollars as a result.

    I REALLY want to know if there is any connection at all between the NCI and/or their panel who participated in this decision and the insurance industry.

    Funny, with all the discussion about bureaucrats getting in between patients and their doctors in Obama's proposed health care and here we are with bureaucrats sticking their nose between women and their doctors. Geeeeee, d'ya think?

    Women deserve preventive medicine...Who are the members of this board? I want them to pay for the health care of the next young woman in her 40s who is diagnosed with advanced breast cancer...that could have been caught years before with a mammogram. Maybe THAT would get their attention.

    November 18, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  9. Bill from pa

    Here's a wild guess, how about the same people bringing us all the misinformation on health care reform, the health insurance industry and their republican lap dogs.

    November 18, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  10. Simonsays/Orlando

    This is just the first step in rationing health care. Get ready for more of the same.

    November 18, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  11. Ann from Charleston, S.C.

    Flawed research is behind the new recommendations for mammograms.

    November 18, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  12. Keith & Karen

    i am a ten year survivor of stage two breast cancer with 5 lymph nodes also positive for cancer. My docro

    November 18, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  13. John

    I was shocked to find out that there are no Oncologists on the federal advisory board that says women over 40 don't need mammograms. I am very curious to find out who is on the panel and who appointed them to this panel? Are they all doctors, or are there insurance company CEO's and lawyers on the panel as well. I'm really curious to find out more. What are Oncologists saying?
    My wife has annual mammograms because breast cancer runs in her family...it is important to her that this is covered by our health insurance, although I'm sure she would still have the test regardless of coverage. But for this panel to make a broad statement that mammograms are unecessary is misleading and dangerous to those women at risk for breast cancer.
    If the members of this federal panel are being paid by taxpayer money, they should make full refund for failing to do their jobs! Then they should lose their health insurance for one year as punishment...see how they like it.

    November 18, 2009 at 5:21 pm |

    Jack, this is just the beginning of nationalized health care. WE simply don't have enough Dr.'s and nurses to be able to handle the extra 47 million people that desperatley need health care. I'm sure there will be many more changes just like this, unless the Chineese have their way and stop us from all the extra spending this will require.

    November 18, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  15. Efrain

    hello Jack

    well simple whats behind every bone headed decision in the medical community, and that is a greedy heartless lobbyist from insurance companies, stead fast on making a profit.

    November 18, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  16. Katja, Bradenton, Florida

    I watched the interview Wolf did with that woman yesterday. She looks and acts like a zombie!. The Task Force is WRONG!!! WRONG!!! WRONG! These so called doctors need to be stripped of their licences and run out of town on a rail. Once the insurance companies and Congress gets wind of these recommendations, people will die.

    November 18, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  17. michael armstrong sr. TX.

    This is whats behind it the government is taking from the poor and giving to the more poor streching the dollar to meet the new health care deal.

    November 18, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  18. Andrea in Twin Lake, Michigan

    I don't know where they get their statistics. They say only 1 in 1,900 are saved by a mammogram prior to age 50. I would be dead now if I hadn't had mine at age 48 and I know several other early survivors as well. They must have plucked that figure out of their heinies because I don't even know 1,900 people. Did the Health Insurance lobbyists get to these jerks too?

    November 18, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  19. Gary H. Boyd

    Whatever's behind it Jack, is a good question indeed but, from the White House point of view, it couldn't have come at a worse time. With Congress still screwing around with Obama's desire for a government Health Care program and concerns about doing in grandma, now they're telling us no mammograms for women in their 40s. That kind of nonsense can only lead folks to ask - are they not only thinking about grandma but now lowering the age group? Just where the hell is this country headed?

    Gary in Scottsdale, Arizona

    November 18, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  20. Bob from Fitchburg, MA

    All I need to know about the controversy surrounding mammogram testing is this: Two of my high school classmates have died from breast cancer in their mid to late forties. Enough said!!!

    Bob from Fitchburg, MA

    November 18, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  21. james in Idaho

    Jack, my guess is a republican or a blue-dog democrat, bound to get everyone not drinking his cool aid to think it tastes really good.

    I'm not the type to lend myself to believing in conspiracy theories, but then, I wasn't one to believe our president would invade an innocent country either. These days, nothing really shocks me.

    November 18, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  22. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    As far as I'm concerned, at 40 I was recommended by my doctor to have a mammogram every two years and I refused it because of no family history of breast cancer and the stress of getting the test done on top of waiting for the results were considered in not getting it done before 50!

    November 18, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  23. Ted, Aloha, OR

    I'd be willing to bet that some of the panel membeers have books out they are trying to promote. Even though there is not one knowledgeable cancer specialist among the entire motley crew. Why not just quit promoting or making news out of the findings of the phony Task force". Here's a questin for you or Wolf, who has more credibility, Palin or the Task Force?

    November 18, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  24. Judy S.

    I have my suspicions that the study was commissioned by the insurance industry to give them an excuse not to provide payment for mammograms and therefore increase the bottom line.
    Isn't this the "death panel" everyone was so concerned about?

    November 18, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  25. Lisa in GA

    Jack, whats new? Hmmm let me see. The insurance lobbyists have "bought "the support of the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force.. they know health care reform is near (and will pass)... the more people that have cancer.. the more money they make... its sad that money is more important than lives... compassion is no more!

    November 18, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  26. mike of Florida

    Jack, its people looking to add clutter to the health care debate. They want insurance companies to drop the coverage, so they can say, see, what they do. The lady that was on the panel with Anderson Cooper must have been a political appointee. She knew nothing.

    November 18, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  27. Lorna

    This sounds like the beginning of "Health Insurance Reform".
    Will insurance companies now have the right to refuse payment for mammograms based upon these "recommendations"? I believe that these recommendations are condescending to women, and are wrong. Women need to take a more active approach to their health, not less.
    By the way, Jack, I am a breast cancer survivor, diagnosed 15 years ago at age 39. If I had followed these recommendations, I would now BE DEAD.

    November 18, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  28. honestjohn in Vermont

    Probably alot of common sense is behind it. The huge number of false positives was astounding and put 98% of those women through hell.

    November 18, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  29. J Wyble

    Again Jack, what part of government gone WILD do people not understand? We have enough proof that government is not the answer. The very thing that people said would happen if government got into the medical business has showed it's hand. People in office can't keep their own lives in order ...they sure as heck shouldn't be messing with ours....

    November 18, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  30. mark pribble Anna Illinois

    Sounds like the negativity of the health care wing nuts strikes again. I have already seen where people blame the President for this. Some people just are not to bright.

    November 18, 2009 at 5:34 pm |
  31. anthony...nj

    Did anyone poll the party affiliations of this so-called US Preventitive Services Task Force? Sounds like an obvioius attempt to undermine the Health Bill giving credence to the "kill your grandma" wingnuts. Girls, ignore this idiocy and get your mammograms when you feel it's right. Unfortunately, it seems you're just anther pawn in the far-right's chess game. They're the one's who could give a damn about your grandma.

    November 18, 2009 at 5:34 pm |
  32. Bertha

    What's behind this, Jack...money. Watch the insurance companies that will now use that info to justify not paying for mammograms before age 50. The President has been encouraging prevention in medical care like getting mammograms and insurance companies don't want to pay. I am a "1 life" saved in the 1900 who found cancer during a mammogram at age 42. I'm now 61. If I had not had that mammogram, I would have been dead a long time ago. I wonder who on this AHRQ panel is being paid off. I've tried to contact them, and they aren't receiving emails or calls. I can't get through. I am completely insulted by this. And to say this procedure can cause anxiety is completely ridiculous. How stupid! When a doctor tells you that you have breast cancer...now that's anxiety, and fear and terror. I am furious about this! I'm not writing what I'd really like to say to these people on this panel. Use your imagination!

    November 18, 2009 at 5:38 pm |
  33. Kenneth Kohlmann

    Saving dollars for ObamaCare and Killing Women along the way. Granted his program doesn't create a "death squad" - we already have it operating on his behalf. This is probably the same group that recommended that PSA testing for prostate cancer is ineffective.
    When one of the leading Democrats in Congress said that the last 2 years of a person's life is the most costly medically and they needed to correct that. Yeah, looks like they want to kill off a lot of people before ObamaCare kicks in in 1013.
    We're getting CHANGE but not what we thought we would.

    November 18, 2009 at 5:38 pm |
  34. john ..... marlton, nj

    FACTS..... the task force simply relied on facts... True , they are health care experts, not oncologists or radiologitss, both of whom have an 'interest' in more testing, procedures, with or without accurate results.

    Second, dig deeper into the 'facts' and you may discover the only significant benefit of the current test protocall (40 year old) is a reduction in breast removal not death. ...

    Most insurance provides for 'breast repair' when neccessary so it appears most of the 'concerns' about the task force results deal with vanity and not medical outcomes.

    November 18, 2009 at 5:39 pm |
  35. steve in virginia

    Obamacare. Obama is behind everything in the Exexcutive Branch. Or perhaps the mammogram reccomendations were a gift from God to give us a glimpse of what to expect if t5he Democrat's idea of Healthcare "Reform" passes.

    November 18, 2009 at 5:40 pm |
  36. Doreen Weese

    President Obama gets blamed for eveything wrong that happens in the United States.The stimulus plan was initiated by the Bush administration,but Republicans conveniently forget that,the mammogram study had nohing to do with the White House,but hey why not place the blame there?This country was in a mess long before 2009,but Obama inherited the mess so why not make him responsible..same with Iraque and Afghanistan.Health care is so out of control here,but rather than try to fix it,let's have tea parties to show how much we hate the President.I am so fed up with all the controversy,all the naysayers who are so busy finding fault they refuse to see any good in anything this President is trying to do,I believe that this country will be a better one under his administration.

    November 18, 2009 at 5:42 pm |
  37. Keith & Karen

    It is very simple, Insurance companies really don't want to pay for mamograms because death is cheaper than treatment. Surgery, chemo and radiation are expensive. Reconstruction also is a cost the insurance cops try to discourage. I did not want reconstruction but my chest skin was stuck to my ribs so i had to undergo 7 surgeries to help this situation. If I had a mamogram sooner it would have saved me a lot of pain and numerous surgeries. Please, please encourage your viewers to get early mamograms. Women, give yourselves a birthday present every year, get a mamogram.

    Karen, 10 year breast cancer survivor
    Ft. Worth Tx

    November 18, 2009 at 5:43 pm |
  38. david doherty

    One word Jack, insurance. Insurance companys are spending to much on test. Bottom line, that's what it's all about. Remember it's cheaper if you dye then get treatment. Not what you'd call a win, win situation
    Dave from NH.

    November 18, 2009 at 5:43 pm |
  39. Sarah in Texas

    Data, Jack, and it wasn't a government panel. It was a panel of independent researchers from colleges around the country. I have a friend who is 45 and has had 17 biopsies, seven of them required anesthesia. She has a great deal of pain from two of the scars and one of biopsies resulted in a fairly nasty infection. No cancer and no history of Breast Cancer in her family. Breast tissue is dense when a woman is in her forties so more false positives occur. It's true that mammograms do save some lives when done yearly between 40 and 50. It's also true that they would save some lives if done between 30 and 40. The main point is that we all deserve the facts, both the upsides and downsides - so that we can make informed choices.

    November 18, 2009 at 5:45 pm |
  40. Christine- OR

    Behind this decision is a group of medical professionals who have absolutely no specialized knowledge in cancer. I would be like me deciding to announce on CNN that vehicle only need to have routine maintenance every 100,000 miles. I would have NO IDEA what I was talking about, but it would make a lot of people freak out about if their warranty will change their policy to reflect my opinion.

    November 18, 2009 at 5:46 pm |
  41. Eric - Houston

    I wish I knew Jack. Great stuff though for the death panel crowd, since it certainly could be made to look like a trial balloon for the rationing of a common, but costly procedure. If so, it was pretty ham handed. No actual experts on the expert panel, does that sound like Washington, I ask you.

    November 18, 2009 at 5:46 pm |
  42. MikeyD.

    I think this is a plot commissioned by elements within the GOP to throw the Health Reform Bill into disarray and make it appear as though these recommendations were from the Democratic side. The GOP is grasping at straws to prevent the passage of this bill.

    November 18, 2009 at 5:47 pm |
  43. Julie

    Doctors are for it ... why not? it makes money. They already have those high tech millions-of-dollar equipment – ROI is the bottom line.

    November 18, 2009 at 5:49 pm |
  44. Scott Stodden

    I think its sick that just because you turn a certain age then your basically written off with lies by doctors and physicans. How does this make sense that women in there 40's and beyond should not have regular mammograms every now and then? I think by saying this the doctors and physicans are just trying to reduce patients and its a shame that an ocoligist wasn't part of the board thank you Jack for always telling us like it is.

    Scott Stodden (Freeport,Illinois)

    November 18, 2009 at 5:50 pm |
  45. rob grant

    More than likely, it's an adjustment to Obama's new health care plan. I expect next ER care for heart attacks will be optional.

    November 18, 2009 at 5:50 pm |
  46. Leslie

    I do not want to sound like a conspiracy theorist but, it is rather strange the all of a sudden some, not all doctors are recommending the new practice. If they were that sold on this practice they would have been making these recommendations to women a while ago. Sounds like the prelude to the increase in health care cost by the insurance industry. They know that if they can reduce the number of mammograms a woman gets, it means that the procedure is now placed in a different price category which means that it will cost more money than what they were charging for them. The lower number of mammogram procedures they have to preform the more valuable the procedure is. So they will have proven and justified the cost increase when the health care bill takes effect. That's how they will raise prices by reducing our health care benefits now but making us pay for the same benefits later.

    November 18, 2009 at 5:52 pm |
  47. Randi Dennis [Portland, Or]

    No oncologists on the panel? And yet these idiots, these clowns are in effect reccomending RATIONING of care to women? What in the hell is going on here in the US? This is making the case for the far right that sadly the ghost, the spectre of what happened in Germany during WWII is starting here as well.

    What will be next, those of us who are not deemed' necessary for the society' will be told it is our duty to get on an ice floe and die?

    November 18, 2009 at 5:55 pm |
  48. TONY

    WHOA. I'am solidly behinfd Health Care Reform. The unambigious guideline's put out today are entirely out of sync with the proposed bill and has been a selling point to the American people. The adminstration no matter how far they may endeavor to distance themselve's from this lunacy, have gone down on this one BIG. It will not save money in the long run and the advice put out by the Panel could possibly sway women who may be apprehensive to be tested to let it ride That gold standard advice may cost live's. Get it together guy's.

    November 18, 2009 at 6:00 pm |
  49. bruce in Texas

    Is this "advisory board" left over from Bush's appointees? Is this another Rovian dirty trick?

    November 18, 2009 at 6:03 pm |
  50. Sharon Lim

    Jack, this task force recommendation is shocking. And yes, it does seem like they could care less about all the cancer paiients that are diagnosed by mammograms. Their rationale saying patients are exposed to needless anxiety is absurd!!! I am a medical professional and totally disagree!! I would like to know the political preference of those who are on this task force???? Has this decision been influenced politically??? This is a very valid question to ask, since their stance is medically not supported by oncologists.

    November 18, 2009 at 6:04 pm |
  51. Jermel Purse

    Jack they looked they loked at the #'s and saw that usually mammograms don't detect cancer in this particular age group. That money could probably be spent elsewhere.

    But they went about announcing this and clarifying this completely the wrong way.

    November 18, 2009 at 6:05 pm |
  52. Ed from the Four Corners

    The insurance companies, of course. Think of all the new profits at the expense of women's health that they would make if silly women only got a mammogram every two years instead of yearly.

    November 18, 2009 at 6:06 pm |
  53. Eric-Atlanta, GA

    This is just one more thing that the republicans can blow out of portion to show that are the party of fear. They will use anything to put fear in the heart of the weak minded. Anyone with half a brain will consult their personal doctor for answers.

    November 18, 2009 at 6:07 pm |
  54. Victor in Saanich, B.C. Canada

    Simple Jack, cost and corporate greed !!! Hell, no wonder the Republicans are behind this idea !!
    It touches their innermost lack of humanity and they salivate at the thought of such !!!

    November 18, 2009 at 6:09 pm |
  55. Bob in Texas

    What do you think is behind new recommendations for mammograms?

    I smell a bribe by insurance interests.


    November 18, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  56. Bob

    More obama behind-the-scenes arm-twisting!

    November 18, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  57. Yvette

    What do I think is behind new recommendations for mammograms? Medical research. Stop looking for cheap ratings, Cafferty.

    November 18, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  58. Roanna Martin Peoria, AZ

    Well, I am 37, uninsured, with no real insurance prospects in sight and unlikely to get a mammogram until I become eligible for Medicare. Makes no difference to me. (Please note heavy cynicism)

    November 18, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  59. Mary

    Approx. twenty-five years ago gynecologist advised women to taken estrogen pills (prem/pro?) to help them through menopause. Breast cancer exploded and then approx. 5 years ago they told women to stop taking this pill. Is this task force seeing a decrease in breast cancer due to younger women not taking that pill.

    November 18, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  60. Karl from SF, CA

    Who is behind this U.S. Preventive Services Task Force? It sounds like United Healthcare and The Republican Party to me. If you don’t need a mammogram, you don’t need health insurance so we don’t need reform. What next? The American Dental Association giving eye care advice?

    November 18, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  61. Bob

    The first step in healthcare rationing?!?!

    November 18, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  62. sang

    Science/statistics. Maybe you should educate yourself on those subjects. Remember x-rays are a form of radiation and too much over time can cause cancer.

    November 18, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  63. Bree

    Not to sound paranoid, but is there anyone asking whether members of that panel are hoping to derail health care reform?

    Trying not to look like Mr. Beck, with my aluminum foil hat at the ready, but the timing of their recommendation seems to be suspicious. Might I ask how many health insurance professionals are on this board, compared to the ZERO oncologists?

    New York City, NY

    November 18, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  64. Kevin in MA

    Jack, What you are witnessing is a preview of what happens when the government gets involved in health care. There are only 2,000 more pages of similar items coming forth. It's not about healthcare, its all about control, Government control.

    November 18, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  65. Steve Salt Lake City, UT

    The two things behind this rational are the same major byproducts of a cattle feed lot, Jack. One is money and the other word is unfit for primetime viewers.

    November 18, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  66. Mike from Denver

    It is just one less thing the government will have to pay for when they take over health care. I cannot wait to see what is next!

    November 18, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  67. Mary Ellen Texas

    Insurance companies what else !

    November 18, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  68. Anita from Tennessee

    It is rather obvious–the insurance companies are behind this task force's advise. The Republicans are jumping on it so they can make it look like it is not of their doing. Wake up people–you are about to be banboozelled once again!

    November 18, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  69. Susanne von Bodman

    OK Jack, is not true that this panel was assembled by the Bush administration – your rethoric implies that is Obama administration gambit.
    PLEASE, PLEASE make this clear to your viewers. Don't blame Obama for things that are not his doing! PLEASE, PLEASE do not turn into another Lou Dobbs!

    November 18, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  70. Ralph Spyer chicago Il

    Money or insurance company do not have to pay out if you are dead.Ask the patient,not the doctor,or doctors will get off their pedestals when patents get off their knees

    November 18, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  71. Georgene


    Denying yet another claim. A tragedy for women struggling with breast cancer, and those who are at risk because of heredity. When is this going to stop?

    November 18, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  72. Shannon

    Well Jack, it's obvious. Obama is passing health care on the backs of women. First with limits on abortion, and now with rationing on the care women get. I guess 1 woman in 1900 just isn't worth it to President Obama. We had a chance to elect a great woman president with Clinton, I can guarantee she wouldn't be doing this.

    November 18, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  73. Mark L


    November 18, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  74. mike

    jack, you hit the nail on the head–this is strictly money driven by the insurance companies, nothing less and nothing more and it shows that they still call all the shots

    November 18, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  75. Mason G

    With all of the bizarre things going on in our government, we will either never know why the mammogram recommendations have been altered, or be thrown another absurd situation that will get the attention of Americans.

    November 18, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  76. jaxon

    Isn't it ineresting that Sebelius had to throw in that the 16 members on the task force are ALL Bush appointees, which is true. Was she trying to say that it is Bush's cronies who are trying to skuttle the health care reform bill by very clearly showing us the rationing that the reform bill will bring, so don't be too bothered by it? I just have to say: Thanks Bush cronies for the heads up!

    November 18, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  77. Miles Kuperus

    Well, if every year is good, every 6 months would be better. How about every 3 months. The "every year" recommendation was based on the data available at the time, this is new data with a different conclusion.

    November 18, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  78. Bob In Illinois

    My mom got cancer at the age of 44, and she's alive today due to mammograms, I feel this latest task force results is complete and utter disrespectful for EVERY women who had breast cancer pre 50's , which IS very common. I hope none of their daughters or wives heard their suggestions, I'm hope they throw them all out

    November 18, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  79. Rich McKinney, Texas

    Jack lets look at a few things. This team was set up by president Bush not Obama. Although it comes during the health care debate the findings were due to come out now anyway. You making this seam like some conspiracy when it is nothing more then another government program. Women have to make informed choices unique to each individual and if they rely on the Federal Government to make their heath care decisions for them they are morons.

    November 18, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  80. Joel - Wisconsin

    It is simply another example of Human beings being reduced to a statistic. Not enough women between the ages of 40 and 50 are dying from breast cancer to make a statistical difference. So write them off.

    November 18, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  81. Jaye


    This is the first of many new policies that will be set by our government when health care reform takes place. This way if it's not policy they government run insurance won't have to pay for it.
    Don't you see the writing on the wall?

    November 18, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  82. Robert

    It is a dirty trick perpetrated by opponents of healthcare reform.

    November 18, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  83. Parker in Covington Kentucky

    If I understand this correctly, this task force was hand picked by George Bush. I'd say that pretty much explains why it skews to the benefit of insurers. No oncologists on the panel? That's a pretty typical Bush appointment, too.

    November 18, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  84. Charlie

    Jack, you are 100% wrong about this. We live in a world with unlimited health care needs (we all are going to die) and limited resources. We can get 82% of the benefit of screening every other year rather than every year...and those who have our ENTIRE health care system in mind have to make tough choices. If we just listened to oncologists and the American Cancer society they'd say 'screen every two months'...but we just don't have the resources to do everything that could possibly benefit someone.

    November 18, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  85. Art Surette


    November 18, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  86. Tom

    Mr. Obama' health advisory board is a precursor of the Obama Health Care rationing and illegitimate medical decision-making that is rapidly creeping up on us.

    November 18, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  87. Steve

    Absolutely nothing Jack! Just more for you to rant and rage about. The insurance companies will always find a way to take your monthly premiums and find all kind of faults and excuses to deny you coverage no matter how many mammograms a woman does.

    November 18, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  88. CK Honolulu

    The panel is a bunch of scientists disconnected from clinical realities who analyzed statistical data.
    Their intent seem to be reducing the frequency of "false positives" rather than increasing effective diagnosing.

    November 18, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  89. Carol Davis

    The reason for these recommendations are to derail the Obama
    health reform plans by the Republicans and by the Insurance Companies that want to cut coverages

    November 18, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  90. Anna M. Smith

    In a word Jack.......stupdiity!

    Brookhaven MS.

    November 18, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  91. Liz

    It's crystal clear. The government wants to become our national insurance provider. They are defining these benefits that they want to provide, starting with reduced mammogram coverage. Stay tuned - more rationing to come.

    November 18, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  92. David A Whitaker

    Hey Jack, I guess you said it all those people think that the consumers are idiots. This is why the economy is where it at today big business taking advantage of the consumers. It will back fire and a lot of people will suffer.

    Martinsburg, WV

    November 18, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  93. JA Smith

    This is obviously a sign of things to come under government-care. When the government has to pay for everyone's medical services (which will eventually happen since the "public option" will put private insurers out of business), more and more reports like this will surface... Once the govt. is on the hook for the bill, they'll try to worm their way out of paying it, just like insurance companies do. The problem is private insurers have a check on their power (i.e. the govt.), but tell me, who is going to regulate the government?

    November 18, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  94. Mike in Mississippi

    The insurance companies are behind this, Jack. All one has to do after hearing about a "study" is look at who conducted the "study". Then, one can pretty well predict what the "study" will say. So, let's get someone else to do another "study". And, the results are sure to be different. Simple. Right?

    November 18, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  95. Amber, Ohio

    I wonder how much money this advisory panel received from insurance companies to "fund their research".

    November 18, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  96. Bradley D. Walter

    I can guarantee there is probably some right wing force behind this in an effort to de-legitimize and de-rail the current healthcare bills going through both houses of congress.

    November 18, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  97. jimi

    Dear Jack,

    I have an ex-girlfriend who is in the hospital right now dying from brain cancer that spread from undiagnosed breast cancer while on medicade. It was Februrary of 2007 when her twin sister received the call that she had undiagnosed breast cancer and was receiving an emergency double masectomy. She had begged for almost 2 years for a mamogram and not received it until she produced visible tangible evidence of the cancer, then it was too late.

    They found out from their astranged father, that there was a family history of cancer after the double masectomy.

    You do not understand pain and suffering until you see one twin watch her sister dying from lack of early diagnosis of breast cancer.

    She's just 50 now.

    Everytime I hear this ridiculous news on mamograms, I want to cry because someone I loved at one time in my life is dying right now for lack of timely examination and diagnostics – which she requested and did not receive.

    November 18, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  98. Harriet Cohen

    It appears that it is open season on women. Whoever takes coverage for mammograms on young women indicates that women are expendable in this country. This is a precursor to rationing health care for all.

    Harriet C., NYC

    November 18, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  99. MJ

    These recommendations will solve one thing...those WITH insurance will now know how it feels to be like those without ...those who cannot afford preventative care...

    November 18, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  100. Barbara

    I honestly believe that this is "Only The First Step" in the beginning of "rationing" Health Care. Our country and our rights are going to hell in a handbasket-Fast.
    Miss Lou Dobbs by the way.

    November 18, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  101. Nancy from Beverly Hills

    Did I hear that this panel was formed under the Bush administration? Need we say more? It is absolutely to help the insurance companies reject claims. If it is mammograms this year, next year it must be tests for prostrate cancer.

    November 18, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  102. Dorothy

    They do not want to tell that mammogram testing causes cancer, so the less you have of it is better your are. Radiation cause cancer.

    November 18, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  103. Gordon Miller in Memphis

    Ten bucks says there are connections between the insurance industry and the panel that said saving a few lives with mammograms is not cost-efficient. It is the first example of how health care will be rationed when corrupted politicians and bureaucrats take it over. Shame on the Obama administration for not rejecting this awful recommendation.

    November 18, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  104. Pine Grove Cafe

    The answer is clear and simple...The insurance companies paid the panel off so they could get out of paying for the tests.

    November 18, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  105. albert

    So let me see if I understand this. The health care industry has essentially bought this determination? If that's the case, the Obama administration / health care reform has been royally SET UP!

    November 18, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  106. Russ in Colorado

    It's obvious! There's a grand conspiracy afoot to entice all American women who are forty-something to move to Canada where they can get the diagnostics they need!

    November 18, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  107. Ron

    Two words.... Plain ignorance. It seems as though so many "so called facts" are being bandied about these days that any idiot can get public notice by saying almost anything from "death panels" to "don't get mamograms."

    November 18, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  108. Nick

    This entire program was begun by the Bush Admin. This report is bogus and influenced by the insurance company lobby. The same people trying to stop health care reform. Certainly not a Democrat move nor supported by the Obama Admin. We'll see what comes out of this. Sebellius tried to remain middle of the road, but I'm sure more will be coming from the White House!

    November 18, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  109. Kevin in Chicago

    Follow the money Jack. In a review of the panel, several are on the payroll of pharmaceutical companies and 8 are Republicans. I have to wonder if this is "created" ammunition as an argument against Health Care reform. When you can't figure out the intentions, follow the money. Cash will tell all your secrets.

    November 18, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  110. tammy

    Just another way to keep them from covering it. I am 36 years old, I have had mammograms and apprecite the fact that I could..

    November 18, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  111. eric

    The question should begin "who is behind" rather than "what do you think is behind". I'd bet the recommendations are the result of a study paid for by the health insurance companies.

    November 18, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  112. Mimi

    Jack, who's behind the mess about the mammograms? Let's see – how about the insurance companies? They knew all too well that this news would rock the world of women and their doctors and they knew all too well that it would give fuel to the fire to stop any change in health care as we have it today.

    This move was calculated. Bet if you dig further you will find money flowing from insurance companies and PhARMA right into the pockets of those who either serve on this board or into the coffers of those who appoint people to that board of 16.

    Sadly, as someone whose mother died as a result of breast cancer and as someone who has yearly mammograms and as someone who now has the pants scared off her – I no longer support ANY change to our health care in the US. Up until today I was totally supportive; however, I believe that this is just the tip of the iceberg...

    November 18, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  113. Carol

    Puleeze Jack, And what insurance company (ies) reimbursed these panel members for their time?? Hmmm

    November 18, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  114. Ronald Holst

    Jack I can not say fore sure But I wonder if the spokes woman For The panel ever got a false positive that put the fear of god into her . And She had some painful tests that She feels she dose not need Or if any of the other Panel members Had this happen to them, or a loved one ?
    Just A though On How they could have come up with such a recommendation . Beside The Insurance companies .

    November 18, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  115. Pat

    What the panel said is exactly true for me ... the early screening causes false positives and anxiety although fortunately did not lead to unnecessary biopsies. That said, it would appear that the once again we have a debate going on in our country which will become political and be used against those who need medical care. Why can't we just have the debate without having to worry about our insurance companies cancelling us and/or refusing treatment? Everyone is saying consult the doctor. Everyone is saying listen to what your doctor tells you and yet somehow it still ends up coming down to our fear of what insurance companies will approve or disapprove. What a crock. Time to put our medical care fully back in the hands of the medical professions and shit can the insurance companies. The health care insurance industry is not interested in our health care ... they are a for profit industry that is driven by the lust of money which will only be satiated if they deny coverage. Get them out of the equation and we solve most of our problems. (side note: fix tort law)...

    November 18, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  116. K. Watts

    It's an attempt to derail healthcare reform by infering rationing.

    K. Watts
    Healthcare Admin

    November 18, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  117. Carla

    Transparent, it is, Jack. The insurance companies see the writing on the health care wall and are acting pre-emptively through their involvement (be it through the front or the back door) in this commission. It won't be long until the gov't puts a cap on the amount that they will pay to insurance companies for mammograms. Cap = decrease in obscene charges and decrease in obscene profits. Ergo, suddenly the number of patients "qualified" for annual mammograms drops dramatically; wonder how much money that will save the insurance companies. The solution of this-and so many other problems in the health care fiasco-is to eliminate the for-profit insurance companies altogether. Like every other democracy in the civilized Western world, we should have a not-for-profit government program.

    November 18, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  118. Burt, Sun Lakes, Az

    The task force are all Bush appointees. I don't see how the Republicans can say anything against this without being hypocritical themselves. Enough said.

    November 18, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  119. Allan Hanson Placerville,Ca

    I think you forgot to mention that this "task force" was set up by the previos administration, instead creating the impression Obama is responsible. He had nothing to do with it. Lets give credit where it is due..

    November 18, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  120. Woody ,Blytheville AR

    Victor in Canada,,,please please I beg you name one Republican who likes this idea,,, just one please.....if you can't then keep your ignorant statements to yourself, and while you are at it,,, worry about your own countries health care system, my doctor is Canadian, an oncologist and when asked why is he working here and not there he said " I ran away from a system you guys are about to adopt", that was enough for me.

    November 18, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  121. Cecelia

    I am not sure what is behind these recommendations, maybe on the verge of health care insurance reform, the government themselves have started gender bias. I don't care if only one life is saved, screenings are vital to women. I had a lump in my breast discovered by self examination when I was 27, had a mammogram. Yes it was stressful but having to wait until 50, who knows if I would have been treatable if it were cancerous. I think the panel is wrong, they need to scrap these recommendations until they have an oncologist review the data. I don't think Kathleen Sebellius is turning out to be an effective HHS secretary with you factor in the swine flu mismanagement. Obama can not pay for health care on the backs of women and I am a democrat.

    November 18, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  122. joe

    And you people want the federal government to take over all health care. You either have never dealt with the federal gov. , or you have your head stuck somewhere !

    November 18, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  123. Jacob Robinson

    Once again, a proof of how permeated is the federal goverment with influence of big business... I wonder how much money were contributed by the Health Insurance Industry to the election campaigns of this goverment. Instead of Military-Industrial complex of 1950s we may have Finacial-Industry complex...

    November 18, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  124. Ken

    It's no wonder patients are confused, with all this rhetoric. The question should be whether screening by mammograms done by x-rays should now be done (at any age) by MRI's? X-rays produce radiation, which done repeatedly eventually become a hazard by itself. Whereas an MRI is 100% safer, provides more details for a doctor to screen and to spot any potential problems.

    Patients need to get educated about their health and start demanding alternatives from their doctors. I don't care what anyone says, pumping radiation into a patient to kill cancer is not a safe method by any standards. 100 years from now, people will look back and think "What were they thinking?".

    November 18, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  125. Leonard Covello

    "What do [I] think is behind new recommendations"? Really very simple. The task force is talking about health policy, i.e., *nationwide*. The recommendations are *not* individual recommendations. Individual recommendations are patient/provider specific - one patient at a time. There may be no woman who would elect to NOT have a mammogram. That would be an individual, specific decision. It is not a policy recommendation.

    It's like the Secretary said, Read the findings, talk to your doctor and do what you decide! PERIOD!

    November 18, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  126. John

    Answer is easy: This panel was appointed by George Bush.
    True Fact. – says it all...

    San Francisco, CA

    November 18, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  127. Ian

    Jack, Clearly there are (many) examples of overservicing within the health system. And there has been gross rationing with many millions of women and men not receiving any health care ..until it is too late! The recommendation should be taken as advice only...and I think it is good that each woman (including the millions without health care now) discusses their individual situation with their Dr. Don't read into this more than you need to!

    November 18, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  128. Kristin

    If we didn't have early detection, I would have been dead BEFORE my 40th birthday. This task force is an affront to women across the country!

    November 18, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  129. Faith Benedix

    Investigation rule #1-Follow the money, follow the money, follow the money. Investigate the panel members, what is a little bribery to the insurance industry!

    November 18, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  130. Ruth Scott

    I agree that the new recommendations from HHS pertaining to the
    use of mammograms is just a "preview" of rationed health care.
    Your exactly correct that insurance companies will use this to
    "refuse" to pay for the mammograms. I truly wonder when
    America will wake up.
    Thank you for all you do.
    Ruth Scott

    November 18, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  131. Charles Penoi

    The poor well meaning health care experts on the panel don't live in or for the 24 hour news cycle. They thought the fact that the tests when given to 40-49 year old women do more harm than good would be enough. But, by the time you get through with this, there will probably be an outcry for 30 year old women to get tested, and yes, money we won't have will be sent on that instead of covering all children, which would be useful. Let some pretty young thing do this kind of work please. You are giving confused old men like me a bad name.

    November 18, 2009 at 6:18 pm |

    Jack: Follow tthe money! This would save Insurance Companies lots of dollars - Personally it is a shame to treat women this way/ I personally had a sister in law die of breast cancer at 36. I myself am a breast cancer survivor-- Where is the reasoning that 1 out of 8 women will have breast cancer/

    November 18, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  133. Steve in Las Vegas,NV

    Not one oncologist, or breast surgeon on this panel...Who is? What or who do they represent?

    Sounds like just of bunch of lobbyists masquerading as "experts" with this nonsense. This "study" comes off as "snake oil"...Nothing more. Just disregard this and listen to your doctor for real advice!

    November 18, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  134. Dani Kelly

    As a 6 year breast cancer survivor who was diagnosed at the age of 37 with no family history of the disease, this shocked the heck out of me and I don't know where it came from and, honestly, it scares the heck out of me as well.

    By the way, I had a mammogram at 37 because my physician requested that all of his patients get a baseline mammogram between 35 and 40. My baseline mammogram showed a calcification and, after more x-rays and an ultrasound, a surgeon recommended a surgical biopsy. It was malignant, but early stage. 25 radiation treatments and six years later, I'm still here and highly recommend REGULAR mammograms between 40-49. Younger women generally have more aggressive cancers. 6% of breast cancers are diagnosed prior to age 40 and only 11% of those women survive. I thank GOD I listened to my physician and I plan on continuing to do so.

    November 18, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  135. Carole Stoner

    I feel the Federal Advisory Board is entirely correct. I have had many friends who have had questionable mammograms, only to find out after several weeks of further tests and agony that they do not have cancer. I feel the health system plays on women's fears and they are making millions on mammograms and biopsies. Now digital mammograms are causing more needless fear because they see every little node and have these women come back for more expensive tests. Women can be in charge of their own health and decide for themselves if they want a mammogram at 40 or 50, but they should not be urged to get one every year starting at 40. Cancer is a money-making machine.

    November 18, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  136. Art,New Jersey

    Jack,theres a bunch of unqualified people on that commitee.,thats what is wrong with it..My Daughter was just 40 when her Dr.ordered
    a Mammogram for her..They found a tumor and operated on her..It
    wasnt cancerous thank God.But if she would have had to wait untill
    she was 50 she might be dead now..Lets get that bunch of idiots
    out of there..

    November 18, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  137. laurie

    sure, its all the insurance companys. if a woman between 40 and 50 cant get coverage for a mammogram, is her insurance rates going to go down. OH HELL NO!!

    November 18, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  138. Dru Ann Perrier

    Mr. Cafferty, I am 51 years old and almost, almost 3 years breast cancer free. Without cancer screenings in my 40's I would not be alive today. My cancer is the type that does not form lumps in breast tissue, it is intra-ductal, spreads between the ducts (only a laywoman's explanation). If I had not been receiving regular mammograms for the prior 10 years plus, my cancer would not have been detected until it had spread to my lymph system, liver and bone marrow.
    I was able to have a lumpectomy and radiation treatments to deal with the cancer. This treatment plan along with changes in my lifestyle and anti- hormone treatments allows me to enjoy my latest grandson's almost two year old smile!
    I can live with a little anxiety, I am not able to live with a 'little' death sentence on a disease, that if caught early, is hopefully curable and surely treatable.
    Thank you for fighting for women's health everywhere! druann

    November 18, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  139. Nancy Valle

    what can one say to just another part of the planned confusion. Hey! Maybe they are just dumb!

    November 18, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  140. Howie Bahn

    Hey Jack...you may be correct in getting your underwear in a bunch but don't blame the Obama Administration for this fiasco of not having any oncologists on this commission...it was appointed by former Pres. Bush and worked on his directives...lets be careful to put blame where it belongs and not jump on a bandwagon of slam, slam, slam our current president as the opposition party does. I too was suspicious that this may be connected to the current health care argument but it started well before that.

    November 18, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  141. Michelle

    Hold on a minute: Mammograms are not risk free–it's still radiation exposure that also CAUSES cancer. It's a more complicated issue than you suggest, and requires weighing the chance of the early detection of breast cancer versus the chance of causing other health problems.

    November 18, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  142. Doris Ford

    On PBS they ask the independent scientist a direct question. The study is about people (men too, dear) who have NO Cancer History
    in their family. This still leaves the daughters, sisters, granddaughters
    needing to have their exams starting at 40. No excuse, cop out ..go to your doctor first!

    So it is alright for the young woman who if she has cancer is in big trouble to die? So we paid these people to do a study! They and their group make money and publisity for their school. It is a study the insurence companies love. I do not.

    November 18, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  143. Beth, RI

    It isn't surprising to hear that the Bush administration selected this panel of so-called "experts". They seem to have the same baseline intellect of Bush. It is unconscionable to believe that one life out of 19,000 multiplied by the female population would be insignificant. Insignificant to whom – their husbands, children, parents, friends? It seems to me that they were bought off by the insurance industry! A new panel needs to be selected with oncologists and mammography experts and an investigation into whether this panel, in some way, profited from their findings.

    November 18, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  144. David Law

    The new mammogram guideline is the Country's effort to reduce overall medical cost.

    If we do not start working and making better judgement to how we can cut down the cost of healthcare, we will continue to waste tax players' money on excessive and over spending and unnecessary cost.

    Now, of course those small number of people who benefit from this waste is going to cry foul, in the name of life saving.

    One person life safe while hundred of other dying is just doesn't make sense. We should look at how many more people can be saved otherwise etc. The way the panel presents the data is horrible. The debate should begin but it should not be started with the same way the teabaggers are with emotions and anger.

    -Dave from California

    November 18, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  145. Gemma

    I think you could be right when you point out that it's an accommodation of private industry, i.e. a political compromise. Realistically, I don't think one can or should avoid accommodation of different interests – it's more a question of how it's done, openly or not. I don't like the word 'stinks' but I think that, along these lines, the real issue is a general aversion to just calling a spade a spade. I would like to see people communicate directly as to what they're trying to accomplish instead of hiding behind euphemisms or what they think will 'sell'...

    November 18, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  146. George

    Where did I hear about DEATH PANELS before?!??!!
    What a coincidence!

    November 18, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  147. Eileen (Peabody)

    What I think is behind these findings is spelled....INSURANCE COMPANIES!!!

    I understand there will be an investigation into these findings and the question that should be explored is just how closely the panel members are connected to the insurance industry. If there are connections I think this nation should scrap this report and turn these so called experts out to dry....they don't belong in the health care industry.

    This makes me sick. (thank God it's not brest cancer!!!)

    November 18, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  148. Bob

    Jack, I see that the representatives from the "Party of No" are already attempting to turn this panel's recommendations into proof of "Death Squads", et al. What they fail to recognize is that all of the members of this panel were appointed by the Bush administration! So I guess they are saying is that it is the GOP's position to delay mammograms from current standards.

    November 18, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  149. Cecelia

    I did some research today and the task force was appointed by Kathleen Sebellius herself at least the director of the overseeing panel.

    November 18, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  150. Chuck

    A lot of health insurance company bribe money is behind it.
    I'd like to make my own recommendation: Any of these task force
    idiots caught taking bribes get to be co-defendants of the 911 terrorists
    and share the same fate.

    November 18, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  151. mary sykes

    The question isn't whether my hmo will pay for mammograms. THE REAL ? IS WOULD THIS SAME ? BE BANDIED ABOUT IF THE FORM OF CANCER WAS PROSTATE. I don't think so.

    Also consider who is going to choose whether your relative or friend will be the unlucky one to get cancer due to lack of screening. My mother died of breast cancer at age 74. She would likely be here today sharing the holidays to come.

    Just whose loved one will these people choose to not receive a screening? THEIRS??????

    November 18, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  152. Rebecca

    It's not the government that is getting between the doctor and the patient. It's the insurance companies that get between the doctor and the patient every day.
    My husband is being treated for cancer. This past Friday the insurance company denied my husband a treatment that the cancer specialist prescribed. Who knows better: The doctor or the insurance company? Since the doctor prescribed it, we will go ahead and pay for it. The treatment will cost $16,400. He needs the treatment at least twice. What choice do we have?

    The $16,400 is just the cost of the medicine. This doesn't include the hospital stay or anything that goes along with it.

    Anyone that doesn't think we need Insurance Health Care Reform is either ignorant of the current circumstances or they are in bed with the insurance companies.

    November 18, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  153. jim in PA

    Jack i would have to say that since the committe was ordered by the bush administration,there is a 100 % chance its all about the insurance companys.They need to make more money to buy football stadiums and private jets and the like.Paying for mamograms can slow the process and since the Bush admin. did so very little for the people of this country,other than take us thru the ringer and rob us blind ,,I am very suspect of this "stick it to the people" type study.But this study wont even slightly hurt those with the high end type health insurance,because only those who can afford such luxuries as mamograms and colon exams and all the other preventive meds will get them.That would be the dukes and duchesses of the U.S.A...the workers are mere peasants in our country any more.

    November 18, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  154. Terry Savage

    Gee Jack you think. You and Wolf do this all the time you report but you do not have the facts. Do you possibly suppose that maybe just maybe mammograms themselves are dangerous (radiation)? And this panel does not quite know how to spill the beans on that one, so dahhh think about it Jack.

    November 18, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  155. pied

    It's another facet of health care reform's cost-cutting, and you'd better believe the insurance companies are going to eliminate mammogram coverage for women in their 40s ASAP. Between this and Stupak, I'm wondering if women will have anything left after all the reforming's done.

    November 18, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  156. e orthun

    The Secretary double-talked herself into a pretzel. Now insurance companies will seize the opportunity to not pay for this vital exam. AND if there's a false positive sometime, they'll use it to deny future coverage. Another BAD bit of left-over Bush government. I'm so sad that Obama's group didn't put a stop to it.

    November 18, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  157. Walter

    Jack, I've been following your country's Health Care debate and nothing surprises me here. Your health care system lends itself to these kinds of "insurance" abuse. Wether it's the insurance industry or Wall street, your deregulation/lack of Government oversight has created a field day for these legal thieves. How about this question for your show. Ask the American viewers "Do you believe health iinsurance companies are honest and trustworthy?'
    Walter from Canada

    November 18, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  158. George Carlucci/NH


    Having practiced medicine for over 40 years and dealing with personal, familial experience associated with breast cancer is seems ridiculous to not have or require medical or radiological oncologists weigh in on this most tragic and serious disease.

    I have seen breast cancer metastize 15 years after a "cure" has been effected and is one of the malignancies that gives cancer a "bad" name. Let's see if this gold star committee is willing to allow their wives, daughters, or granddaughters follow this regimen (add insurance executives as well).

    New Hampshire

    November 18, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  159. Jackie in Dallas

    Your comment is awaiting moderation - as usual.

    I don't know for sure, Jack, but I suspect that insurance companies don't want to pay for them. I've not had insurance in a while, but a mammogram is not hugely expensive (about $150 – a bargain for the medical field), detects cancer at a very early stage, and can help save lives. I find the money every other year to have one done. It is interesting to note that the American Cancer Society, the American Medical Association, and a number of major research hospitals and facilities for cancer research have emphatically come out in opposition to the new recommendations.

    A better question to ask is who initiated the changes in these recommendations. Was it a team of physicians who found that they were ineffective? Hardly - the committee was appointed by President Bush. Was it due to the radiation? Oh, please! I probably get more radiation from my microwave! To me, the most likely candidates are the number crunchers at the insurance companies. Is it realistic? No, and I'll bet if insurance companies tried the same thing with prostate exams, they'd be crucified!

    November 18, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  160. Nancy Valle

    I can't think of anything appropriate.

    November 18, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  161. Dani Kelly

    In response to those who think MRI's are the way to go – MRI's don't detect calcifications which account for 50% of breast cancer diagnoses. If it means I'll survive, I'm more than happy to risk a little radiation once a year – I survived 25 treatments to ensure I was cancer free.

    November 18, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  162. Tara from Forest City, NC

    The insurance lobby is what is behind this, just like the massive opposition to any hint of a government option to compete with the racket they have created for themselves. And unfortunately, it will likely cost lives..maybe even mine. I am a disabled 42-year-old breast cancer survivor. I was diagnosed when I was 36. I must get an annual mammogram because of my history. When I read about this, my heart sank. Will I be able to continue getting my mammograms or will I have to figure out how to pay for them out of my $719/mo disability? To say this is upsetting to me is a complete understatement.

    November 18, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  163. Mike Summers

    When sarah Palin came out and spoke of health rationing and death panels, I wrote her off after such a stupid statement. Sarah? I'm sorry. You do have death panels after all. And this idiotic assumption by this government appointed board of so called health experts vindicate you.

    How utterly rediculous. My sister would be dead now if she followed these recommendations.

    November 18, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  164. Zack

    Jack, I think you got it wrong this time. The committee is doing its job, reviewing medical statistical data in an effort to look from a non objective fact basis. The fact is obvious that of course some women need regular mammograms in their 40's, but for some the risk associated with taking the test opposed to not taking it is higher. As said earlier if a doctor recommends a test, it will be covered by the insurance agencies, and there's no harm in getting informed by talking to your doctor. By the way if the profit based insurance agencies don't cover it, just another reason to have a public option.

    November 18, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  165. Jon S.Pridham

    The finding of the advisory boards seems to echo "don't get sick, if you do then die quick."

    November 18, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  166. Laura Jones

    Leonard, you seem to be forgetting that many women need to have insurance cover mamograms in order to have them at all. Since some insurers have indicated already they intend to follow this new guideline, we can expect that routine mamography will not be covered now. This means mamography for those who can afford it only. Bet they will still pay for your viagra.

    Bottom line this was a pure statistical decision, not a clinical one. The affect, however, will be clinicnal and cause increased mortality rates for women, as 70% of breast cancer in women between 40 and 50 are in women with NO HISTORY or other suspicion of breast cancer and therefore no reason to be screened by mamography. It's false to suggest that women can disucss this with thier doctors now and still get a mamogram, without insurance agreeing to pay.

    This is outrageous. Time to get out the bra's and matches.

    November 18, 2009 at 6:33 pm |
  167. ray from Louisiana

    Jack, As much as it pains me to say it, Palin's so called death panel finally has a name.

    November 18, 2009 at 6:33 pm |
  168. Steven

    Jack, Just as banks in this country are racking up fee's and interest rates.ect.. before Federal regulations go into effect for credit card companies, insurance companies are finding similar ways to make as much money as possible before our leaders (?) in Washington pass Healthcare Reform. Simply said, someone's looking to make a few more bucks. No matter who loses.

    Steven J.
    Rochester, MN.

    November 18, 2009 at 6:34 pm |
  169. james Sharp Jr.

    Jack, please. This so called gold standared, health care panel was appointed by Bush/Cheney. What we have here is the string from the past being pulled to add distortion and discontent to the current health care reform debate. Do us a favor and highlight this relationship.

    November 18, 2009 at 6:34 pm |
  170. Ken Essigman

    It's obvious....Cost savings over the health of Americans. My suggestion is to do what I've been doing for years. Listen to what the government reports and do the opposite.


    Mechanicsville, Virginia

    November 18, 2009 at 6:37 pm |
  171. Cheryl

    .This panel for Recommendations on Mammograms was commissioned by the last administration... Bush and the republicans have always supported the insurance companies so as to gain more profit. It is not curious to me that the recommendations are coming out now in this time shortly before a vote on our health bill, something the insurance companies do not want. The panel was commissioned by Republicans and now they have the right to claim,” this is the kind of care that will be taken away from us if we vote for the Health Bill.”
    Care is being taken away from us right now through such panels as this one.
    Those who commissioned this panel and certain ones with agendas to make more profit for the insurance corporations are taking away care from women in this country and for a total destruction for what would be beneficial for the people in this country

    November 18, 2009 at 6:37 pm |
  172. Fabri

    It is clear that behind this recommendation lies confusion, controversy , fear and time for the big corporations to delay the health care reform.If every 40 year old woman goes to see her doctor and he or she finds that the patient has a justified reason to have a mammogran, that ancillary test has to be paid by the insurance company in spite of any recommendation.Health care is essential a doctor-patient relationship.

    November 18, 2009 at 6:39 pm |
  173. Bill in Austin

    1 in 1900 for ladies in their 40's. 1 in 1400 for ladies in their 50's. That's 0.05% for 40 year olds and 0.07% for 50 year olds. That's less than one tenth of one percent either way. Why not test both groups? There is no good reason as far as I can tell. The cynical answer is of course money. Who bought these guys anyway?

    November 18, 2009 at 6:40 pm |
  174. Tanja Brick,NJ

    This is just a sneek peek at our new health care plan, if it were to pass. What will be next? Well visits r no longer recomended because they can cause u stress in the waiting room and only a handful of people have actually saved their lives from these routine visits?!?! What a joke. They know this health care bill will swallow us whole and they need to find a way 2 cut costs b4 it is even law. Who can really trust this "respectable source" after this?

    November 18, 2009 at 6:40 pm |
  175. Ejack

    Jack, follow the money! You have the answer.When there are fewer exploretories, therein the profit motive kicks in for all involved, including
    all those who were "influenced by the insure lobby. Why else would the insurance companies be so willing to spend policy-holders money so loosely. Using other peoples money, having absolute control over it and not having risks of personal responsibilities for failure is a winner.
    A resl god-send.

    November 18, 2009 at 6:40 pm |
  176. steve in virginia

    I'm puzzled as to why so many folks blame this on the insurance companies or Bush or Republicans since none of the above are in charge of the Executive Branch under which this panel operates. The reason is the person who is responsible for the appointment and overseeing of this panel: Obama.

    November 18, 2009 at 6:41 pm |
  177. lasha

    Jack, come on! With all this hoopla, do you honestly believe the insurance companies will have an out? The family doctors decides that 41 year old Lucy needs a mammogram but the insurance co is going to say 'not so fast' because that so-called expert panel doesn't think she needs it, so the request is declined. Do you honestly believe any insurance co wants this kind of backlash now especially when so many women's lives are at stake. Insurance co's leave a lot to be desired but denying cancer screening for millions of American women isn't a plan they wish to participate in. Get real Jack.

    November 18, 2009 at 6:41 pm |
  178. jim pawlak

    Jack, dig deeper. This Advisory panel was appointed by Bush. Who are they and what is their affiliation? First you have the Stupak amendment; pro-choice women now against reform as per the House plan. Now add dead Granny's & women on this mammogram issue and guess what, NO REFORM. Women vote in larger numbers than men. Viola! an under the table scare tactic Republican/Health Care Industry victory.

    JIm Hobe Sound, FL

    November 18, 2009 at 6:41 pm |
  179. emma

    It's an insurance issue. The insurance companies have a heads up before the new policies start , so to save them money, they want to change the recommenations to save themselves money at the expense of American womens health. The insurance companys are running the country not the congress

    November 18, 2009 at 6:41 pm |
  180. Bill

    Thanks for this question, Jack. What is behind the recommendation? The push to ration heath care even further. Just as Clinton approved legislation to abolish the rights that Americans once had to food and shelter (euphemistically called 'ending welfare and we know it'), Obama is on track to limiting whatever rights to healthcare Americans now enjoy. Next time you vist your doctor, ask what tests are being systematically left out of your health check up. Demand that those tests be prescribed.

    November 18, 2009 at 6:42 pm |
  181. Pat

    Jack: One more thing. I have watched several news shows since this story broke. Strangely enough, you are more incensed than any of the women interviewed. Is there a reason you are so upset??

    November 18, 2009 at 6:42 pm |
  182. Gary

    As The Secretary of Health noted, the panel recommending no "routine" screening for breast cancer using mammograms was appointed by Bush. Do you wonder if they are Republican anti- government health care advocates and that this convenient announcement might stir up the old "death panel" fears that they hope will kill the health care reform so desperately needed. The cost reduction possible with the public option puttting pressure on providers to chare reasonable rates is the really only cost reduction tool that makes sense.

    November 18, 2009 at 6:43 pm |
  183. Susan Bush

    Obviously they (the advisory board) are stupid! We all have been touched by breast cancer. I am a lab tech. there is a specific type of breast cancer that hits very young women i.e. in their twenties. It is fast moving and deadly. It does not discriminate. Until we can change over to a better tool for detection this is all we have. Do not take it away. The additional stupidity of this board is the fact that they picked a group of very powerful people (women) to try and subject to a rationing policy. Have they never heard of the Susan Komen foundation or of the sixty mile walks?? If I were one of them, I would not be able to go home tonight and face my daughters, sisters, aunts, wives... well you get they idea, it's absolutely shameful this in the United States of America. This we were promised would not happen with the new universal health care bill.

    November 18, 2009 at 6:44 pm |
  184. Stacy Martello

    Being a Breast Cancer survivor, and being diagnosed at age 42 through a routine Mammogram, I find these new "guidelines" as a large step backward in the ability to provide life saving testing that is needed. I would like to talk to the 16 people on this panel which now suggest these "guidelines."

    Since my diagnosis, I have worked tirelessly with women and men and families of Breast Cancer survivors with my Non-profit Organization Fight Pink. We have had a league of women contact us to discuss the new Guidelines, and they discuss their fears associated with the new guidelines. I believe these guidelines have done one thing for sure, raised awareness about how Mammograms are very important to the health of women and men across the country. Hopefully women aged 40-49 will indeed request a Mammogram now because they fear they won't be able to get them paid for in the near future by their Health Insurance companies. Maybe, just maybe it will save some lives!

    Awareness is the key, and Every Fight Counts™!

    November 18, 2009 at 6:45 pm |
  185. Karen

    My sister was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 34...it was very aggressive and she passed away at 38. I guess without any testing she would have only made it to 35!! Give me a break...cancer does not discriminate based on age....and neither should this "medical pannel."

    November 18, 2009 at 6:45 pm |
  186. Bev.


    From Canada. I am sick of the stupidity of Politicians and supposedly well informed people. The lady from the group that came out with the suggestion that those ladies app. 40 to 50 should not have mammograms every year when interviewed could not answer one question straight, the lady from the Government avoided every question with a dumb answer. Why hasn't someome the guts to say, forget the report,m have an exam every year, until those experts, such as your Doctor tell you otherwise., If 4o million people gave $ 1.00 each every week over and above what they now give the Government, would this cover the 40 million, that have no health care, how about $5.00 a week. Quit smoking and donate all your smoke money to a fund for health care only. No big problem, wake up. Bev. Canada

    November 18, 2009 at 6:46 pm |
  187. AJ in TX

    Just in time for ObamaCare, the government says women don't need to do a mammogram at 40 since it's too expensive. Can you say, rationing?

    November 18, 2009 at 6:46 pm |
  188. Jerry Jacksonville, Fl.

    Easy Jack, the insurance companies will stop paying for them now. I'll bet your months salary Jack that everyone on that panel is a little evangelical republican.

    November 18, 2009 at 6:47 pm |
  189. Chris in Philadelphia

    Going out on a limb here but the non-oncologists on the panel probably have some hush money from industry, insurers or someone else bound to benefit from this. Disgraceful.
    As a medical student I can say that the information they have taught us is that self exams are not a great detection tool. Not bad enough to get rid of but not reliable. Self exams and mammograms together are the best screening tools we have SO USE THEM. It is hard enough to get people to follow up on preventative testing without these expert panels dreaming up this non-sense.

    November 18, 2009 at 6:47 pm |
  190. frankie

    In the previous question, 41 of the first 50 respondents (I'm not good at counting, but it was definitely the majority) said "yes" they would vote for Obama, and many of these were a definite and resounding "yes." How come the answers you read on the air didn't reflect this enthusiasm??

    November 18, 2009 at 6:48 pm |
  191. Melvin Barros

    Women have had their children. Guess their expendable now. Next they will recommend mammograms every 5 yrs after age 50 and then colonoscopy every 10 yrs after age 60. Sure would save a US Gov't approve plan a lot of money. Wonder what's next?

    November 18, 2009 at 6:48 pm |
  192. steve in virginia

    Since by Constitutional law, Obama is the Human Resource Director and policy maker for the Executive Branch, it must be Bush's fault. Or Palin's.

    November 18, 2009 at 6:48 pm |
  193. Peter Kohler

    This recommendation is so far out in left field that it is defies the meaning of left. I am 68 year old male who was trained and educated as a biopysicist. This makes me angry and I hate to get angry at this age. Two of the comission members appeared on CNN. One is a nurse, the other an "MD". Their answers were sadly embarrassing.
    Kathleen Sebelius's statement makes me doubt the Obama administration's true commitment to the nation's health. The comission members should be investigated for possible ties to health insurance companies. Go Jack go.


    November 18, 2009 at 6:48 pm |
  194. Mary

    A slap in the face to all women, especially those of us who are at high risk. How dare you - will this, if it happens, make all the health insurance companies happy.

    What a slap in the face this inconsideration is.

    Get some female authorities (oncologists) on board and listen to what they have to say.

    November 18, 2009 at 6:49 pm |
  195. Ken in NC

    Republican Idiots

    November 18, 2009 at 6:50 pm |