November 17th, 2009
07:03 PM ET
12 years ago

Wasserman Schultz: Health panel findings 'disturbing'

(CNN) - Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz criticized an influential health panel's new guidelines recommending that women get mammograms less frequently, calling some of the findings "disturbing" and "patronizing."

The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force, an independent group of health care experts, issued new guidelines on Tuesday recommending that women in their 40s not get routine mammograms, and refrain from doing regular self exams. Part of the reason, one panel member told CNN's Wolf Blitzer, is to prevent women from worrying too much about having cancer.

"The harms of screening is what we call the false positives," Lucy Marion, the dean of the school of nursing at the Medical College of Georgia said. "In other words, women will have unnecessary worry about cancer. They may have unnecessary biopsy. In some cases they may have more radiation than healthy for them, though in most cases, that's a minor problem. But there are those harms, and we weigh those harms with the benefits of the few women that would benefit from that."

Wasserman Schultz, who was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 41 and said she found it though a self-exam, introduced a bill in March to teach even younger women about early detection. She said on Tuesday that women need to get more information to make educated decisions about their health care.

"To assume that women armed with more information about their own breast health would simply get hysterical and have anxiety and not know what to do and not make a sound decision in consultation with their health care professional is patronizing," Wasserman Schultz, a Florida Democrat, told CNN's Wolf Blitzer. "We need to make sure that women get more information, not less, and make sure that women are screened because we know that early detection and screening saves lives."

This panel's findings in the past have been used by insurance companies to decide what to cover. Wasserman Schultz said the fear is that they may drop their coverage of routine exams.

"It's right when we're trying to reform our health care system, change it from a sick care system to one focused on prevention," she said. "This task force is recommending women 40 to 49 years old don't have preventive screenings to potentially detect breast cancer and insurance companies could start to use that as standard practice for coverage decisions."

soundoff (45 Responses)
  1. ib

    This is just a good example of what gov. controlled health care will be like. Please senators vote it down. Please.

    November 17, 2009 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  2. Donkey Party

    That's what happens when the country is repeatedly raped by greedy "conservatives".

    November 17, 2009 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  3. Tina Obryant

    I just want to say that I am furious with the panels findings. I am a 38 female who who diagnosed with breast cancer at 27! I repeat 27! Why are we even waiting till 30 to get mammagrams, thats right, the goverment decided we don't need to. Thanks to the people in charge of our health. Lord knows we aren't anymore. I couldn't get a mammagram until my cancer reached 3" in diameter, even though I found the lump 2 years before that. This is becoming absurb and I'm just getting madder at the idiots with these findings. Good day all.

    November 17, 2009 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  4. 4 Palin

    This is the beginning of rationing health care!!!! Pay attention, a GOVERNMENT panel is the group advising that women can wait until they are 50 before having breast examinations yearly. Most cancers are cureable with early detection. My husband was diagnosed with lung cancer and staged 3b. But with aggressive treatment and surgery, he is now cancer free!!!.. Considering his age, under Government health plans, he would probably have not had the options that he had under PRIVATE insurance. Our PRIVATE insurance certainly paid out more to cure him than we had paid them for our premiums. If the insurance companies are making all of these profits–Good for them!!! They will have more money to pay out for people to get the BEST of care. Get a clue, if all these people don't have insurance, lets take care of our children, our mentally and physically challanged and our senior citizens and let everyone else fend for themselves.

    November 17, 2009 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  5. CNN loves raping the american people

    I find it odd that this person, who is fundamentally a fascist, is AGAINST the rationing of healthcare. She has spent a large amount of her public career in the Obamist crusade to seize the health care industry and her comments would be seemly contradictory to her goals. Puzzling. She has such a warped mental state she would make an excellent CNN news show host.

    November 17, 2009 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  6. CNN loves raping the american people

    No doubt she will follow the Obamist path and provide this care for women even if she has to cut preventive health care for men and boys.

    November 17, 2009 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  7. jon

    If you don't believe Obama's "death panels", this is only one of thousands'case senarios that will come when Obamacare comes into effect.

    November 17, 2009 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  8. Tim

    Simply put, a prequel to death panels.

    You asked for it, you got it.

    November 17, 2009 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  9. USN

    Rationing nnnnaaawwwww , Death panels NNNNaaaawww. Welcome to Obamacare. We control you . Don't try to adjust your set ! We control the hieth width . the sound ...............

    November 17, 2009 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  10. R in Maine

    Why bother to stay current on check-ups? It's only cancer.
    What is wrong with these half-wits?

    November 17, 2009 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  11. Ancient Texan

    Government deciding what's best for the patient- or next step to total control.

    November 17, 2009 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  12. smb

    Could somebody please tell me why this story is not getting more attention. This is one of the scariest things I've heard in a long while. Insurance companies will surely use this opinion to restrict coverage for these life saving tests. And to not teach women to perform self-exams . . . . .are you kidding me?!

    November 17, 2009 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  13. normajean

    There are newspaper articles now telling women not to bother with self exams and not to have mamograms before 50 yrs.of age. I don't know what or who is behind this advice but as a healthy old woman who found a breast lump herself at age 48, was subsequently given a mamogram or two followed by a mastectomy,I think this "advice" questionable. In time to come there may be more efficient ways to handle this problem, but knowing what I do,I would do exactly as I did and I would find another doctor for a second opinion."Better safe than sorry" A phrase older than I.

    November 17, 2009 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  14. Mike in SA

    And yet with this glimpse into how rationing will occur in the future government-controlled health care, Wasserman Schultz still stands behind the Dem House bill. I'm sure women all over the country are standing up and applauding her.

    That last sentence should be read with a healthy dose of sarcasm.

    November 17, 2009 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  15. 30 Year Veteran

    Just how stupid can these Democrats be. I was one for 50 years so I guess it's pretty easy to follow the leader and not see the real world. Here they're following a hoe leaner leaning on his hoe who has done nothing and will do nothing except embarass Americans everywhere he goes. I woke up SO DARN IT AMERICA WAKE UP AND SMELL THE ROSES YOU HAVE PUT AN ESCAPEE FROM THE ...! YOU KNOW WHERE IN THE WHITE HOUSE.

    November 17, 2009 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  16. normajean

    Another thing, we all know that the best
    way to save money in the health care business is PREVENTION.

    November 17, 2009 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  17. Unknown

    And the rationing begins

    November 17, 2009 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  18. Fran Townsend

    If the Federal Reserve is neither "Federal" nor (definitely not) have anything to do with "Reserve" then why are they not audited, like any other Federal agency is? If a bunch of elite, ultra-greedy foreigners are making major decisions that affect our economy...don't we have a right to know? WHY is CNN asleep at the wheel? Does anyone notice that the Federal Reserve was supposedly set up under the auspices of avoiding depressions and recessions, however we have had nothing but depressions and recessions since their inception. Doesn't that seem a little bit contrary to the best interests of the citizens of America, to have an unaudited organization, masquerading under the name "Federal" which it is anything but, and causing housing bubbles, and stock market bubbles, ever since its inception?

    November 17, 2009 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  19. Michele

    This is a question of dollars...think how much all those mammograms cost insurers. I have had one every year for the past 16, even though I have no particular risk factors. I think there was also a recent recommendation for less concern about prostate cancer in elderly men...that they would probably die before the cancer killed them (or die from surgery.) I think in a way this is responsible decision making, and women are still in control of their screenings.

    November 17, 2009 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  20. IVOTE

    I seriously disagree with the suggestion of new guidelines for breast cancer screenings because I know early screening is important. A friend and neighbor in her late 20's lost her life to breast cancer leaving a young son and a loving family.

    November 17, 2009 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
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