White House not supporting new mammogram guidelines

By Sara Story - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - After public criticism and backlash, the Obama Administration has distanced themselves from the new breast cancer screening guidelines. They say the standards, recommended by a federally funded task force, are not part of government policy.

The new breast cancer screening guidelines have the medical arena firing back.

"They are talking about cost effective screening - these are young women in the prime of their lives," said Dr. Michael Klouda, Medical Director of ETMC Breast Care Center.

"I felt this was predictable of limiting patients access to care...that is, you have 50% less mammograms to pay for, then that's going to save the government money or the insurance companies money," said Dr. Hope Short, a family practitioner in Tyler.

In a politically sensitive time, Dr. Short and Dr. Klouda agree it is the wrong place for the government to address health care savings. A federally funded task force composed the guidelines, but the White House isn't supporting them.

"Do what you've always done, talk to your doctor," said Kathy Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services. "Figure out your own health situation with your doctor...your family history. Those are the important ingredients."

The White House says government insurance programs will continue to cover routine mammograms for women, starting at age 40.

"Well, I guess I'm thrilled that they would try to backtrack away from this," said Short. "I think that very often we see things thrown out there just to see what kind of impact it makes."

"To be honest with you, I was going to give it about a week before the worm would turn...they whacked the wrong hornets nest," said Klouda.

Klouda says it's a step in the right direction, but fears damage has already been done.

"There's a cancer center somewhere, and they have women canceling their appointments," said Klouda.

As decisions on Capitol Hill are made, Klouda says go to your doctor with questions.

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