Monday, December 07, 2009

Mammograms, S-CHIP, and California as Models for Socialized Medicine

(HotAir import)
ObamaCare advocates claim that putting government in charge of health care coverage and treatments won’t result in care rationing, while its opponents say rationing will be the inevitable result.  The latter can point to California as evidence for their position.  Facing enormous budget shortfalls, the state has ended subsidies for mammograms for poor women between 40-50 years of age, and will also freeze enrollments in a breast-cancer screening program for its Medicaid recipients:
The eligibility age for state-subsidized breast cancer screening has been raised from 40 to 50 by the California Health and Human Services Agency, which will also temporarily stop enrollment in the breast cancer screening program.
Advocates for low-income women, whose health care the department helps pay for, say the cuts put a two-tier system in place that is based on money rather than medical standards.
The cuts will greatly harm the clinic’s mammogram program, said Natasha Riley, manager of Vista Community Clinic’s Breast Health Outreach and Education Program.
The clinic and others like it in San Diego County provide reduced-cost care, mostly to low-income people, with money from the state and some private donations.
“More than 50 percent of the women we give breast exams and mammograms to are in their 40s,” Riley said. “The majority of our current breast cancer survivors are women in their 40s.”
The state followed the recommendation of the US Preventive Services Task Force, which claimed that regular mammograms created too much anxiety for women between 40 and 50.  It also linked the decision to declining revenues from tobacco sales — no, really — which cut into funding for anti-cancer screening programs:
In its announcement, the state said the cuts were needed because of a projected budget shortfall for the California Department of Public Health, and from declining revenue from tobacco taxes.
However, it did not say how much money it expected to save.
Gee, what else have we built on the shifting sands of tobacco taxes?  I wonder how the S-CHIP program is faring these days.