Washington, DC—Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid released the following statement today regarding the importance of mammograms and how the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will make mammograms more accessible:
“We can respectfully disagree on policy and best practices. But scientific facts are indisputable, and here’s one that so many families in Nevada know first-hand: Mammograms save lives.
“Like other preventative measures, screening for breast cancer is one of the best ways to fight it. It’s the reason why the Senate’s health insurance reform bill makes prevention a priority, and why – thanks in large part to Senator Harkin’s leadership – we are making those tests less expensive. Our mothers and sisters and wives and daughters deserve nothing less.
“An independent task force this week suggested that women should wait until they are 50 before getting a mammogram. Experts like those at the American Cancer Society, American College of Radiology and the Access to Medical Imaging Coalition took issue with that recommendation, as did a lot of people in Nevada and throughout the nation.
“But let’s be clear: the task force’s recommendation will have absolutely no impact on the bills we in the Senate write, debate or vote on. Secretary Sebelius has also assured me there that nothing in Medicare or Medicaid will change as a result of the recommendation, and that’s the way it should be.
“I have always believed that the decision of whether and when to get preventive treatment – like a mammogram, a prostate exam or something as simple as a blood test – should be made by a patient and a doctor. It shouldn’t be made by an insurance company, by the government or by someone you’ve never met.
“Some noticed that this task force’s recommendation and the Senate health care bill came out around the same time and mistakenly assumed one had something to do with the other. Of course, they do not. Republicans who deliberately conflate or confuse the two only confirm just how desperate they are to distract the American people from the real debate – and from the fact that they have no vision for fixing our broken health care system.
“There will be nothing in our bill to discourage or prohibit preventive treatments – quite the opposite, in fact. And as a result, our historic reforms, like mammograms, will save lives.”