publication date: Apr. 24, 2015

Foes Immediately Vow to Nullify Task Force Guideline on Mammography for Women 40-49



The breast cancer screening recommendations proposed by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force earlier this week are basically unchanged from the 2009 version.

WARNING: a reader’s yawn at this juncture would be misplaced.

The recommendations proposed and put in place five years ago were so politically radioactive that they could have jeopardized the passage of the Affordable Care Act.

Indeed, the ACA specifically excluded the task force’s 2009 recommendation on mammography.

Immediately after the 2009 draft recommendation was published, then HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in effect urged women between 40 and 49 to disregard the panel’s evidence-based guideline. An amendment to the ACA, called the “Women’s Preventive Health Amendment,” finished the job of invalidating the guideline. (This made the ACA politically viable.)

Some folks in Congress launched efforts to eliminate funding for the independent USPSTF. Today, Congressional efforts to broaden the panel to include subspecialists and even the industry are ongoing.

The 2015 guideline, published April 20, resurrects the controversy—and if anything, the situation today has even greater thermonuclear potential: while the 2009 guideline is specifically excluded from ACA, the 2015 document isn’t. At least not yet, some say.

Under the provisions of ACA, a low grade—in this case a “C”—for mammography screening among younger women could mean that … Continue reading 41-16 Foes Immediately Vow to Nullify Task Force Guideline on Mammography for Women 40-49

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