New Mammogram Advice Not US Policy: Sebelius

'These recommendations are not ours,' HHS Secretary asserts
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 18, 2009 5:22 PM CST
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.   (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
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(Newser) – The recommendation from the US Preventative Services Task Force that women in their 40s should not get mammograms is not government policy, said the secretary of Health and Human Services. Kathleen Sebelius tried to tamp down some of the controversy that has followed the panel’s decision, asserting that government insurance policies “remain unchanged. I would be very surprised if any private insurance company changed its mammography coverage decisions as a result of this action," she said.

"My message to women is simple. Mammograms have always been an important life-saving tool in the fight against breast cancer, and they still are today," Sebelius said. Her attempt to distance the administration from the task force comes amid criticism from the American Cancer Society and even opponents of Democratic health care reform, notes CNN. "This is how rationing begins," said one Republican congresswoman.