November 18th, 2009
04:09 PM ET
4 years ago

U.S. health chief: No change on mammogram policy

WASHINGTON (CNN) – A federal advisory board's recommendation that women in their 40s should avoid routine mammograms is not government policy and has caused "a great deal of confusion," Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Wednesday.

"My message to women is simple. Mammograms have always been an important life-saving tool in the fight against breast cancer, and they still are today," Sebelius said in a statement.

"Keep doing what you have been doing for years - talk to your doctor about your individual history, ask questions and make the decision that is right for you."

Sebelius waded into the controversy over Monday's announcement by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force that women in their 40s should not get routine mammograms for early detection of breast cancer.

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Filed under: Kathleen Sebelius
soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. j

    It's the cautious thing to do.

    November 18, 2009 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  2. NVa Native

    She needs to say " a great deal of confusion and fear is all the tea-baggers and repubs care about and that's why the Fox Followers are so afraid of their own shadow. Anti-American rhetoric and demonizing is the Repub rant of the year.
    These tea-baggers only care about theit TV idols and their backward radical religious politics.

    November 18, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  3. Jeff

    What are the costs of mammograms (including risks of complications from the procedure, whatever they may be)? What are the benefits (I know early detection.)?

    When are the benefits greater than the costs? That's the age, on average when they should begin to be had. Whatever that age may be.

    Obviously, there is individual variation, based on individual risk factors.

    What if the money being spent on mammograms for 40-49 year olds could otherwise be spend to detect 10 times as many cases of say ovarian cancer (assuming that the instances of each type of cancer are equal in regards to health effects)? I don't know what the answer is, but it's something to think about.

    November 18, 2009 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  4. D.

    They were against it before they were for it!
    These liberal politicians always talk from both sides of their mouth!!!!!!!!!!!!

    November 18, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  5. Jimmy James

    My sister in law was diagnosed at 39 with breast cancer. Luckily it was caught early thanks to her Dr giving her a mammogram as part of her yearly physical. This is the stuff we can look forward to with the government deciding our health care. It is very scary. The government can't run itself. Its a broken bureaucracy. Now people want the government to administer rules for health care? This is the same government that can't keep track of the stimulus spending. This is the same government openly lying about jobs saved by the stimulus.

    Hopefully all the transparency the Obama administration talks about comes out soon because the lies and outright misinformation they spread now is transparent.

    November 18, 2009 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  6. Gary

    If you can't get the H1N1 vaccine supply right, if you can't balance the budget, if you can't get "cash for clunkers right," if you can't get Katrina right and you can't get weapons of mass destruction intelligence right WHAT MAKES YOU THINK YOU CAN RUN HEALTHCARE????!!!! NO PUBLIC OPTIONS! NO GOVERNMENT HEALTHCARE! NO GOVERNMENT PANELS! NO MORE ENTITLEMENT PROGRAMS! STOP PROMISING PEOPLE FREE STUFF!!!!

    November 18, 2009 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  7. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Though insurance companies look to that panel for guidance on which preventive care practices they should cover, Sebelius said the doctors and scientists on the task force "do not set federal policy and they don't determine what services are covered by the federal government
    -----------------------------–

    The insurance companies are at it again folks. They bank on the stupidity of citizens; they spin the name of the company that they use to set their guidelines ( in this case the U.S. blah blah Task Force) knowing that everyone is going to get caught up on the U.S. part of the name. When are we going to stop being so gullible? Why would the gov't insist that you keep LESS track of your health? I mean come on. This is how we ended up with Bush for 8 years. We can be some really big dummies, and fall for the same 'fast one' TWICE (see Bush 2nd Term). Get a grip people. They don't want healthcare to go through, and if they can make you believe that the gov't does in fact want you to die then they will. We don't have to worry about terrorists taking us out, we're doing a darn good job of it ourselves. Sometimes we can be our own worst enemy. something doesn't sound right, let common sense prevail, then investigate. Sheessh!

    November 18, 2009 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  8. Kevin in Ohio

    This is the typical backpedaling we've become accustomed to from this incompetent administration. The truth is that heakth care services will be utterly curtailed if this administration's abomination of a health plan is passed.

    November 18, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  9. ghostwriter

    Of course, the Obama administration has gotten to another group. Man, if he is able to bend this many different groups, like the unions, AARP, AMA, etc to his every whim, he is a mastermind of Pied Piper propotions.

    November 18, 2009 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  10. PREDICTA

    Only the beginning of health care rationing. Wait and see what happens when the HCR bill passes.

    November 18, 2009 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  11. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    I don't understand how people couldn't understand nothing had changed or am I the only one that understood that. Makes me wonder sometimes.

    November 18, 2009 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  12. John S

    Do you really think the public is this stupid???

    On the one hand we have the "Federal Advisory board" making a recommendation to reduce screening, and then we have US Health cheif saying that this isn't us. Who does this US Preventive service task force work for?

    I'm an idependant and these new policies, new branches of the government, that do not belong or don't belong to the government are driving me crazy. I think we need to go the Republican/American way of smaller government and just follow the constitution. We obviously don't have the skills in the gov. sector or white house to get anything right.

    November 18, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  13. proud mother and sister of soldiers

    Don't blame this one on the REPUBS...it has had extensive media coverage on all the morning shows. She has to be cautious with her party pushing its health care takeover. It isn't reform if they aren't making changes to the exitsting program. It is the sign of things to come should we have government control of our health care.

    November 18, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  14. Harryt

    The Preventive Services Task Force, comprised of 16 health care professionals, has been in existence since 1984 as an advisory group and has made numerous recommendations over the years. Recommendations – not policy. And even if Kathleen Sebelius is trying to make it clear that this recommendation is NOT the government's policy, the Republicans are zealously trying to paint this as an Obama initiative that is the first step in trying to create his "death panels". Absolutely disgusting.

    November 18, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  15. Seant

    What a load of crap....people are brain dead these days. Do you actually think our government gives 2 cents. The politicians know this...if there ever comes a time when government run health care is here...they will be out getting their own...just like social security...our politicians don't even contribute to it...and why would they...it is a loser...just another fund for our government to pilfer. All the so called poor people blaming the rich...give me a break. This country is heading dramatically in the wrong direction and its the dopes who are going to allow it. Can't wait to see the dopes after this administration, should they succeed, start their weeping then. By that time we will be taking orders from the U.N.! WAKE UP DOPES! This is actually laughable.

    November 18, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  16. shmeckel

    Would ya look at that; federal health advice in the raw. I can’t wait. This reform is going to be great.

    You are correct there missy Sebelius they don’t set federal policy; they only give advise to the people that do set the federal policy so we don’t have anything to worry about.

    November 18, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  17. xxception

    Hmmm, this is the SAME advisory board that set the 40-49 standard some years back. Then, they knew what they were talking about, but not now? Just another sign of the Obama administration's arrogance. They believe they know better than the Dr's who make up the advisory board and will gladly disregard their findings if it doesn't fit the message they want to put forth. As it relates to healthcare reform........assuming these doctors are correct (I don't have the medical knowledge to contradict the experts) this would be a COST SAVING move by eliminating procedures that have a questionable impact at that point. YET, the Obama administration is rushing to discount it because it might harm them politically. Just more of what you can expect if you let the government make decisions about your health.

    November 18, 2009 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  18. Bluebonnet

    I wouldn't take that witches word for ANY medical advice. She is NOT a doctor!

    November 18, 2009 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  19. Flash in the Pan

    All of you liberal women, who support universal healthcare: Isn't it nice to know that you can make the first contributions?

    By waiting 10 more years, and getting mammograms half as often, you will be allowing more women to benefit from the procedure!

    Mediocrity for all!!! GObamaCare!!!

    November 18, 2009 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  20. Tram

    THIS is the entire fault of the insurance companies.

    November 18, 2009 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  21. FactCheck

    Do you right wing clowns *NOT* know that the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (the ones that recommended less mammograms) is made up of people from the *PRIVATE* sector? And that the panel includes folks from the health care industry?? Try doing a little reading instead of blinding following what RushBeck is spouting this week.

    November 18, 2009 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  22. Peter s

    The party of doom (GOP) are at it again!

    November 18, 2009 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  23. Party Purity will never bring Political Power!

    calls the panel's recommendations the "gold standard," and insurance companies look to the panel for guidance on which preventive care practices they should cover"

    That explains it all, this "independent" commission is in the insurance company's pocket(like a lot of Congress) and will use this to not pay for mammograms and cite this study.

    Glad the Feds said this is not our policy, the health reform bill hopefully, will stop this type of back door capers.

    November 18, 2009 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  24. Rush,the carnival barker

    Smells like there was a paid mole operative hiding out in that office.Let their days be numbered.

    November 18, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  25. Brian from NJ

    Oh, and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force is under the Department of Health and Human Services, which is run by Selebius... it is under the Obama Administration umbrella...

    November 18, 2009 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
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