November 18th, 2009
06:03 PM ET
4 years ago

Sebelius: New guidelines are 'not coverage decisions'

Sebelius: New guidelines are 'not coverage decisions'.
Sebelius: New guidelines are 'not coverage decisions'.

Washington (CNN) - Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius stressed Wednesday that government funded programs will continue to cover routine mammograms, despite a federal advisory board's recommendations that women in their 40s should not regularly get tested for breast cancer.

"They are making recommendations, not coverage decisions, not payment decisions and the government payers have decided we will continue to cover both Medicare and Medicaid patients who have mammograms routinely," Sebelius told CNN's Wolf Blitzer. "We will continue to recommend it, and the health plans have indicated that they will do the same, if the health care provider recommends a mammogram for a patient, they intend to cover that payment."

Earlier in the day, Sebelius addressed the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force's recommendation that women in their 40s not get routine mammograms, saying they "caused a great deal of confusion and worry." She emphasized again on CNN that they "don't make coverage decisions" and advised women to go to their doctors to decide when and how often to get mammograms.

"What we know is that mammograms definitely save lives," Sebelius said. She added, "We want women to have a doctor, take the information, but then have that conversation about your own health history, what the risks are of having a mammogram versus the benefits and make a determination based on an informed decision."


Filed under: Kathleen Sebelius
soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. Mike in New York City

    It is fascinating to hear Rep Michele Bachmann (R) Minnesota talk about the new advisory panel recommendations for mammograms. Just take out any reference to mammogram and insert abortion. ...allowing women to maintain control of their own bodies, not the government??!! Where have we heard THAT phrase before?!

    November 18, 2009 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  2. Lee--Dallas, TX

    As a young man, I wonder were there any recommendations regarding men and testing for prostate cancer.

    November 18, 2009 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  3. They call me "tater salad"

    My friends wife died from breast cancer at the ripe old age of 23! Yes that's right 23! Cancer doesn't care how old you are!!!!!!!!!

    November 18, 2009 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  4. Marko

    Now she said it and now the greedy health insurance companies will adopt it. She gave them the out they are always looking for. Nice going, and your a woman.

    November 18, 2009 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  5. Danny J

    So when the U.S. government states that this advisory board's recommendations are the "gold Standard" when it comes to coverage decisions, is there, like, a platinum standard?
    No, this won't lead to rationing. Not at all. That didn't happen to countries like Canada with Universal Health Care for a much smaller population. Oh wait, their women have to wait around 6 months for a mammogram, and women up to 70 years old are only allowed a mammogram every 2 years over there.

    November 18, 2009 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    It's difficult to believe that this is not a coverage issue. This is just the beginning of a government run health care system...

    November 18, 2009 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  7. joe m

    this matter was handled very poorly. sebelius' equivocation only mildly helps ease the confusion. what an amature mistake.

    November 18, 2009 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  8. Mark

    What do you think the death panels will be. Gov't mandates on what their budget can cover. good luck obamabots!

    November 18, 2009 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  9. Larry S

    Don.t believe this tax cheat liar . . . this is the start of rationing . . . if you don't believe it, then I gueess you are as dumb as oBLAHma. Bring back the good American in Bush.

    November 18, 2009 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  10. Christine Sheffler

    Our lack of using preventive medicine in the last many years has help lead us to the current health care situation we are in now. Preventive medicine includes regular screenings – such as mammograms or colonoscopies – exercise, proper dieting, and many other things to maintain a healthy body. Using screenings, cancers can be detected earlier and therefore are cheaper to treat and more likely to be defeated. Exercising and proper diet could help people to reduce blood pressure, lose weight and even rid patients of ailments such as heart disease or diabetes. This could help many Americans with their chronic illnesses. By using preventive medicine, not only will patients live healther lives but the costs of our health care will be substantially decreased.

    November 18, 2009 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  11. inde

    The American people need to stop listening to schills of the insurance industry and use their gut. I am so sick of the nanny officials that we pay for not telling the truth but furthering their pockets and political ambitions. Is being 48 that different from being 50?

    November 18, 2009 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  12. tom

    May God have mercy on each one of us and on Palin's new age religion.

    November 18, 2009 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  13. chris l

    and the rationing begins

    November 18, 2009 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  14. GI Joe

    To me it smells of the Rove tactics of using a Bush appointed panel to derail health care.

    Can anybody spell GOP=NO to what americans need?

    November 18, 2009 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  15. ib

    Take a good long hard look at these so called guidelines. If Obamacare passes you see more of them only they won't be guidelines they will be what is used to determined your gov. healthcare. Scary isn't it?????

    November 18, 2009 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  16. Pragmatic

    Unfortunately, two major insurance companies have already announced that their coverage will match the new government guidelines: no one under 50 unless "high risk" and only every other year after that.

    The most troubling defense (by the PD/RN data quoter) does just that: quote date – without any obvious concern for those younger woman who don't fit "the data" ... and still get breast cancer.

    November 18, 2009 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  17. Fred

    Women of America wake up. I don't think these politicians like you.

    November 18, 2009 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  18. annie against biased news

    The government rationed no-health care bill has not yet passed and yet the parasites that call themselves president, the terrorist loving administration and all the little other parasites in the house and senate have already begun to ration health care!

    November 18, 2009 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  19. Meka

    I must say, this was not the TIME to bring this conversation up!

    November 18, 2009 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  20. Len (Colorado)

    Reported by CNN: This study was approved and adopted by the last Administration. That would be the BUSH ADMINISTRATION! Make sure you get all the facts before you believe folks like, Glenn Beck, and Rush Limbaugh!!!

    November 18, 2009 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  21. valwayne

    Wait until Obamacare is in place. When the Government board decides they need to save money and refuses to cover a procedure like this it won't be paid for. Health care decisions will all be made by medical boards that will have bureaucrats on it, not Doctors. When the cost of Obamacare sprials out of control at 4 or 5 or 10 times the current estimates the medical boards will be desperate to cut procedures. They will be the true death boards, not the end of life counseling!

    November 18, 2009 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  22. Peter s

    Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, is one of the most thoughtful politician America will ever have. May the Almighty bless the work of your hands!!

    November 18, 2009 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  23. tom in Tennessee

    More nonsense from the propaganda ministry. Creditability declines as the lies increase.

    November 18, 2009 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  24. Jacque Bauer

    While lack of attention during Katrina may have caused some hardship and suffering, the Obama administration's gross negligence with N1H1 will cause the death of HUNDREDS if not THOUSANDS of lives. Sebelius PROMISED many months ago that there would be PLENTY of vaccine in time for this flu season, but NOOOooooOOO!!! She's doing one heckuva job, Obammy.

    She should be fired immediately, and Obama should be called to account by congressional committees and the media for this inexcuseable failure that is killing so many people. I can't wait to see this on the MSM...!

    November 18, 2009 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  25. N

    Beware what you say Kathleen, your dear leader will make an example of you..

    November 18, 2009 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |