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Breast Cancer Screening Guidelines

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Breast Cancer Screening Guidelines


Mrs. BLACKBURN. Mr. Speaker, I do rise in support of the resolution, and I yield myself such time as I may consume.

I am pleased to see this resolution before us, and I want to commend Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz and also Congresswoman Capps for their work on this issue. I appreciate their leadership to raise awareness, and I have grave concerns, very grave concerns on how this issue translates into the health reform bills that are currently before us. While I do rise in support of this, I do think that it is important, it is imperative, as a matter of fact, that we revisit why we are here and why we are having this discussion today. And it's important that we realize that, even with the resolution before us, it is not going to get to the crux of the issue, but it is a good, solid first step.

With or without a government-run health plan, H.R. 3962 would still be a massive takeover of health care. Government bureaucrats will be charged with making decisions of what can be in your health plan, and they can make it illegal for a health plan to cover anything not approved by the government. In the House version of the Democrats' health reform, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force and its successor organization are cited over a dozen times and given disturbing new authority over coverage decisions regarding breast cancer screening.

For example, on page 1,762 of the Democrat health reform bill, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force is given the authority to determine, and I'm quoting, ``the frequency'' and ``the population to be served.'' And quoting again from the bill, ``The procedure or technology to be used for breast cancer screenings covered under the Indian Health Service Act.'' Section 303 of H.R. 3962 states that the, and I'm quoting again, ``Commissioner shall,'' which is a mandate, Mr. Speaker, ``shall specify the benefits to be made available under exchange participating health plans.''

In plain English, that means the new health choices commissioner will determine what preventive services, including mammography, are covered under your health insurance based on what the task force says is right. Passing a resolution and passing this resolution before us, as I said, is a good, solid first step. However, I do believe to strike at the heart of the problem we, indeed, need to move forward on a motion to instruct conferees to make certain that we revisit this issue.

Under the Democrats' bill, the task force will set government policy and will determine what is covered and make it illegal for plans to cover other items. All recommendations of the Preventive Services Task Force and the Task Force on Community Preventive Services as in existence on the day before the date of the enactment of this act--which would be H.R. 3962--shall be considered to be recommendations of the Task Force on Clinical Preventive Services.

Mr. Speaker, in order to prevent any type of rationing, that is why we need to take even further steps. I commend my colleagues for their diligent work on this issue. It is the right first step, and I encourage all of us to continue to work to resolve the issue.

I reserve the balance of my time.


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