The Obama-Biden transition team has specifically used the failure to reach all women with mammography screening as a reason for greater government control of medicine.
It states that only 71.8% of women age 50 to 64 and 63.8% of women age 65 or older received screening mammograms in 2005, despite expert recommendations for annual screening after age 50.
In Canada, however, where “everyone is insured,” the screening rate is only 51.8%, according to Statistics Canada.
Despite universal coverage, the disparities in screening for women of lower socioeconomic status are the same in Canada as in the United States (Katz SJ, et al. Am J Public Health 2000;90(May):799-803).
The transition team implies that the goal should 100% screening, without consideration of potential problems, such as overdiagnosis and overtreatment. Overdiagnosis was shown to be 30% in randomized trials, and reached 40% to 60% in large epidemiologic studies (BMJ 2006;332:538-541).
If seeking anecdotes about difficulties in finding care, the team should look to the British National Health Service. An expectant mother of twins was informed that she needed a Caesarian section because one of the twins was undernourished and not developing properly. Before delivery, she underwent a 5-day ordeal of being ferried 250 miles between four hospitals in search of adequate facilities. Five minutes after birth, one of the twins was taken to another hospital because all the incubators had become full.
The babies became more undernourished as the mother had to starve herself repeatedly in anticipation of surgery that was postponed. And after delivery she had to face a two-hour round-trip daily drive to deliver breast milk (Mail on Line 12/16/08).
The costs endured by women and babies and others whose care is delayed are not counted in the costs of the purportedly efficient single payer.
On “Health Care—of the People, by the People,” you can “Tell us your story, why health care is important to you, or what you’d like to see an Obama-Biden administration do and where you’d like the country to go” at:
- “Blitzkrieg Declared on American Medicine,” AAPS press release 12/9/08.
- AAPS Analysis of Baucus Call to Action.
- “White Paper on Medical Financing,” by Andrew Schlafly and Jane M. Orient, M.D., J Am Phys Surg, Fall 2006.
- “Why the United States Should Reject Socialized Medicine (a.k.a. ‘Socialized Medicine’) and Restore Private Medicine,” AAPS brochure 9/15/03.
- “Health Care Quality: Would It Survive in a Single-Payer System?” by Robert J. Cihak, M.D, and Merrill Matthews, Ph.D., Medical Sentinel, Winter 2001.