October 23 2012

Gottlieb: ObamaCare v. women

Karin Agness

Dr. Scott Gottlieb, a practicing physician and resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, has an article in the New York Post today, ObamaCare v. women: Beware of what it takes away.  We have heard different aspects of healthcare policy discussed in these last few weeks before the election.

Have you heard of the US Preventive Services Task Force?

Gottlieb describes it:

ObamaCare empowers a host of new boards and committees to arbitrate over what insurance will pay for, and what remains uncovered. They’ll rule over not just health plans sold inside the ObamaCare exchanges, but even private insurance.

One such board, the US Preventive Services Task Force, will evaluate preventive health services like contraception and decide which benefits must be part of the coverage that insurance plans offer — indeed, which services must be covered in full, with no co-pays.

But requiring first-dollar coverage for those services is expensive, so health plans will have to offset those costly mandates by dropping coverage for things that don’t make the board’s grade.

Problem is, what the board deems essential is often out of sync with patient preferences, conventional medical practice and even experts like the Centers for Disease Control — which has clashed with the Preventive Services Task Force over recommendations like screening for HIV and hepatitis C.

 The Task Force has already taken action:

Americans first became familiar with the Preventive Services Task Force in November 2009, when it made the controversial decision to advocate that women ages 40-49 shouldn’t get routine mammograms. More recently, it rebuffed routine use of tests for detecting the viruses that can cause cervical cancer. And now it’s calling the shots for what benefits must be included and what can be nixed from our plans.

The question about healthcare policy in this country really is a fundamental question about the role of government. Gottlieb’s article is a reminder of the practical consequences of this question.

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