Congress Expected To Shun Mammography Recommendations In Final Health Bill

The Wall Street Journal: "The final health-care bill is likely to require coverage for more mammograms than the new guidelines recommend after women's groups, doctors and imaging-equipment makers stepped up pressure on lawmakers -- one of many threads of the bill negotiated behind the scenes." In November, the federally funded U.S. Preventive Services Task Force issued a report saying that "routine mammograms weren't necessary for women in their 40s who have normal cancer risk. The panel said the downsides of mammograms, including the risk of false positive results, could outweigh the benefits for many women in their 40s." But doctors and patient groups "swung into action" to protest the ruling.

"In the Senate, lawmakers approved an amendment from Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D., Md.) to its health-overhaul bill that effectively nullified the new guidelines and promised mammogram coverage for women starting at age 40. ... Senate and House negotiators are now in talks, and congressional aides say a version of the Mikulski measure is expected in the final bill" (Mundy, 1/12).

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