Whatever you think about the Murkowski/Mikulski amendments on preventative health-care for women, they make one point clear: Congress is never, never going to have the nerve to cut programs that are popular with voters. I happen to know quite a few women who are lucky that they had mammograms before the age of forty. I urge women to have mammograms early. But this debate shows that curbing health-care costs is well nigh impossible when politicians are involved. Tevi Troy notes:
The Senate agreed not to let the Preventive Services Task Force change a specific practice, namely mammograms after age 40, but did not agree in general to prevent the task force from limiting other practices in the future. This is hot-button politics masquerading as medicine. Rationing decisions that get raised to national attention, such as the mammogram decision, will be voided by Congress if there is enough of an outcry, but the task force will presumably continue to suggest limits on lesser known, less popular practices. The result will be an increase in efforts by advocacy groups to protect their most favored procedures and screenings, as they know Congress will overturn decisions if their is enough political pressure for them to do so.