Well, isn’t this interesting!

The controversial new guidelines for breast self-examinations were a hot topic on Capitol Hill Wednesday. Last month, a government task force recommended mammograms for women every two years, starting at age 50. The group also recommended against self-exams, which is in start contrast to the American Cancer Society’s recommendations.

The new guidelines led to outrage across the nation.

The panel now says screening women in their 40s should not be automatic, but should not be denied either.

“The recommendation about breast cancer screening for women 40 to 49 did not say what the task force meant to say. The task force communication was poor,” insisted Dr. Diana Petitti with the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.

Meanwhile, Dem. Sen. Barbara Mikulski, obviously worried that, since 81 percent of Americans expressed outrage at the panel’s original recommendations, the public might perceive those recommendations as a prelude to Brit-style government rationing of healthcare for cost reasons, has proposed an amendment to the Senate health bill that would mandate more frequent screenings.

That’s nice, but as Ace of Spades HQ observes, why should the government be mandating what sort of healthcare we receive in the first place? Shouldn’t we be able to decide for ourselves what care we’d like to pay for and what care we’d just as soon forgo?

A federal panel wants to cut costs and care, while another part of government is going to react to political pressures and provide strong support for favored groups.

I don’t know what the right balance is here but neither does this federal health panel or Sen. Mikulski. Free people, exercising their best judgement will find the right equilibrium between costs and benefits. Right now the disconnect between the benefits received by individuals and the costs paid is too great. Any reform effort that puts more variables and distortions between people and their own care will only cause more problems.

Yes–aren’t the Dems supposed to be all about women making their own choices?