Blackburn, Barrow Introduce Legislation Requiring More Transparency at the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force


By:  Marsha Blackburn
Date: June 22, 2012
Location: Washington, DC

Congressman Marsha Blackburn (TN-7) and Congressman John Barrow (GA-12) have introduced H.R. 5998, the USPSTF Transparency and Accountability Act of 2012. The legislation would amend United States Preventative Services Task Force provisions to require openness and efficiency for the American people.

Currently, the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force can issue ratings critical to personal health without regard to scientific and clinical evidence, without consultation from practicing medical specialists and advocates, and without consideration to Task Force potential conflicts of interests. Many provisions used by the Task Force were put into place themselves with no coordination with relevant federal agencies and under the observation of the politically-appointed Secretary of Health and Human Services.

"This legislation would fundamentally reform the Task Force by requiring a balanced and relevant representation of medical personnel, requiring members to disclose conflicts of interest, and requiring consultation with those who treat the specific disease in question," Blackburn said. "It would also require common sense coordination among relevant agencies and stakeholders while restoring the doctor-patient relationship. The American people are tired of a government that believes it knows what is best for you, your health, and your wallet. The critical nature of the Task Force's work, and the widespread impact to public health, is better served by a Task Force that is patient-centered."

"Getting the government out of the doctor-patient relationship is our top priority," said Congressman Barrow. "It's essential that patients have access to what's good for them. I know because my life was saved by a course of treatment the current task force discourages because they think it doesn't save enough lives soon enough to justify the cost to all concerned. That's why it's essential that we have balance on this task force, and that's what this bill does."

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