Former NIH director says that health care bill is an attack on patient choice

Story here at Hot Air. (Via Confederate Yankee via ECM)

Here’s the ex-NIH Director:

Dr. Bernardine Healy ran the National Institute of Health has a rather daunting resumé on health care issues.  She became the first woman to run the National Institute of Health in 1991, has served on two Presidential Council of Advisers on Science and Technology, and served as President of the Red Cross.

And here are her comments in US News:

The bill takes all sorts of choices out of patients’ and doctors’ hands. Even mammograms and prostate-specific antigen (PSA) tests would be similarly restricted by the government for millions of people, and they actually serve as better examples of what happens more broadly to personal medical decision making in the new system.

[…]As the pioneering prostate cancer surgeon Patrick Walsh of Johns Hopkins points out, a European randomized trial showed that PSAs saved lives. In the United States, there has been a 40 percent reduction in prostate cancer deaths since testing began in the early 1990s. Yet prostate screening arouses many of the same concerns as does breast cancer screening: too many follow-on studies, too many biopsies, and surgery on slow-growing tumors that may never have harmed the patient. The government task force claims that there’s insufficient evidence to make a recommendation for routine screening of men younger than 75 and is firmly against screening in men older than that. The American Urological Association’s position is the polar opposite: Baseline PSAs should be offered to men at age 40, and the frequency of subsequent testing should be determined by doctor and patient choice.

Ed Morrissey adds:

Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) tests help catch prostate cancer early. The American Urological Association wants men screened with the test beginning at age 40 to catch the problem at its earliest stages.

[…]The government board wants to move away from what it sees as excessive testing, claiming that it will reduce unnecessary stress and anxiety in patients. It’s no small coincidence that it will also save the government money — and in the case of PSAs, it will save money directly if Medicare refuses to pay for PSA tests until age 75, rather than retirement age.

Right now, the US leads the world in catching, treating, and curing prostate cancer. Britain, which has a single-payer system that rations care, has one of the lowest ratings in the world. That’s not a coincidence.

He who pays the piper calls the tune. If we want to keep patient choice, then we have to pay for our own care. If we allow the government to absorb our choices in the name of “fairness,” expect the USPSTF and other government panels to ration these tests and reduce our chances of surviving these cancers.

Previously, I wrote about a Stanford University professor’s survey of health care systems around the world, in which he compared American health care to single-payer systems, favored by those on the left. In Canada, there is a 184% increase in prostate cancer mortality rates, compared with American mortality rates for prostate cancer. That’s what we’re headed for if the public option passes.

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