Thursday, November 19, 2009

A new war on science?

This morning, fellow UPI alum Gail Collins has one of the better columns I have read lately, not only because it is about an important topic -- breast cancer screening -- but because of her flippant note that everything including her own breast cancer is fodder for a good column.

Also because she asks the obvious, but rarely heard, question:

Has anybody noticed that the people who darkly warn about government bureaucrats forcing insurance companies to cut back our coverage appear to be the same ones who just voted to force insurance companies to stop covering abortions? Where’s the sanctity of the marketplace when we really need it?

For years, I observed and complained about the Bush administration's war on science -- how politics and ideology always trumped evidence.

Now, we have the best possible science telling women that unless there is a known risk of breast cancer, they should wait until age 50 before having regular mammograms and no woman should rely on self-examination. Why? Because those recommendations, pushed by people who profit from mammograms and needless breast biopsies, found that early screening is on the whole more harmful than helpful.

But that didn't stop the Obama administration's secretary of health and human services from stating the recommendations that were produced by an independent panel of experts appointed by her own department under the Republican administration are not to be taken seriously.

As of next Sunday, the secretary becomes my boss and I will be working for a federal agency that regulates the people who make x-ray machines.

Therefore, I have no opinion on this matter.

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