Thursday, November 19, 2009

Health By Bureaucracy

Just a quick one today.  I'm sure you've heard the news about the Federally appointed task force that decided that the current breast cancer screening procedures are too thorough sighting the high cost of each test and individual turmoil caused due to false positives (detecting breast cancer where there isn't any).  Thankfully the Obama Administration won't change their existing policy on this go-around... its like they have a critical bill moving through the Senate that is trying to give them control over what type of medical treatment is really necessary or something.

Seriously, though:  a government task force appointed to come up with the balance between cost, your own personal feelings, and your health?  Isn't this just like the government telling me what is healthy instead of me talking it over with my doctor?  I thought this was something only evil corporations were capable of: identifying what sort of treatments or preventative measures I need by a calculated cost-benefit analysis.  Why would you fight for something like this?

Here is my chance to poke a few more holes in the FDA, also.  Have you heard the story about the FDA looking to take action against highly caffeinated alcoholic beverages?  First off, who hasn't tried a Vodka with Red Bull - secondly, what is the point of making pre-mixed drinks illegal when the whole fashion was started with people mixing their own drinks?  If MillerCoors isn't allowed to sell their Sparks because it is dangerous, what is to keep people from mixing their own again?  Is the FDA going to go into a house party and arrest people for mixing drinks?  Which is really dangerous - the alcohol or the caffeine or both?  If everything is dangerous, let's just bring back prohibition and add caffeine to the list of banned substances!

It is impossible to implement enough laws to protect people from their own ignorance.  If it is dangerous to mix alcohol and caffeine, then education is the way to solve it (remember that party saying, "beer before liquor, never sicker - liquor before beer, in the clear").  It is the same with preventative health measures - these issues should be solved between a patient and their doctor.  These are the two most qualified parties that poses the most relevant information - not some bureaucratic task force.


  1. I believe you are mistaken when you say the advisory board considered cost. I will try to find the story I heard that in.


    This is not the story I heard on NPR - however it is the actual recommendations.

    Cost is only mentioned to compare the cost between the different detection methods, not as an argument to why mammograms should only be given once every two years.

  3. I have never tried vodka and red bull. . .just to put that out there.

  4. Karen, you are correct - monetary cost was not directly sighted as a reason to change the current policy in the recommendation, but there are several news outlets that are concerned that cost could play a bigger roll in a public option health care plan (obviously they are mostly republican view points). The point remains the same - these decisions should be between a patient and their doctor - not a committee.

    Adele - you aren't missing much... they aren't all that exciting.