McCaughey advances falsehood that task force would limit preventive care under health reform bill
Research ››› ››› JUSTIN BERRIER
In a November 24 New York Post column, Betsy McCaughey suggested that both "women -- and men" would "lose" under the Senate health care bill because preventive care would be limited by the US Preventive Services Task Force guidelines, and quoted medical professor James Thrall stating: "I fear we are entering an era of deliberate decisions where we choose to trade people's lives for money." But insurers operating under the Senate health care reform bill are not required to adopt recommendations against preventive screening, only to adopt those recommendations supporting preventive screening.
McCaughey falsely suggested the Senate health care bill limits coverage for preventive services
From McCaughey's November 24 New York Post column:
Last week, the US Preventive Services Task Force [USPSTF] recommended that women forego mammograms between the age of 40 and 50, settle for mammograms every two years thereafter and stop altogether after 74 -- a huge departure from current practice. The Task Force says its guideline will be 81 percent as effective in saving lives and should be good enough. This is the same task force empowered by the Senate bill to determine preventive care in your benefit package (p. 17). James Thrall, a Harvard Medical School professor, says, "I fear we are entering an era of deliberate decisions where we choose to trade people's lives for money."
In fact, the Senate bill does not enable task force to limit preventive services
Senate bill does not require insurers to adopt USPSTF recommendations against preventive screenings, only those in favor of specific preventive screenings. Page 17 of the Senate health care reform bill, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which McCaughey cited, requires insurance companies to cover screenings that the USPSTF rates as A or B recommendations. It does not require insurers to adopt guidelines - as suggested by McCaughey -- that recommend against preventive screenings:
''SEC. 2713. COVERAGE OF PREVENTIVE HEALTH SERVICES.
''(a) IN GENERAL. -- A group health plan and a health insurance issuer offering group or individual health insurance coverage shall provide coverage for and shall not impose any cost sharing requirements for --
''(1) evidence-based items or services that have in effect a rating of 'A' or 'B' in the current recommendations of the United States Preventive Services Task Force;
Section-by section analysis: Sec. 2713 "[r]equires all plans to cover preventative services and immunizations recommended by" USPSTF, CDC. From the Senate Democrats' section-by-section analysis of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act:
Sec. 2713. Coverage of preventive health services. Requires all plans to cover preventive services and immunizations recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force and the CDC, and certain child preventive services recommended by the Health Resources and Services Administration, without any cost-sharing.