House health chair doesnt want payors to change policy on task force mammo recommendations

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U.S. Representative Frank Pallone, D-N.J., chair of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health, released a statement today suggesting that health insurance coverage should not change despite the recent recommendations.

“Mammograms coverage should not be decreased and remains beneficial, despite the recent opinion by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force,” Pallone wrote on his Twitter Website.

Last month, the task force issued new guidelines against routine screening mammography in women aged 40 to 49 years, against teaching women breast self-examination and advocating biennial screening mammography only for women aged 50 to 74 years. This decision led to an outcry from various societies and breast imaging experts, including a panel held at the annual conference of the Radiological Society of North America at the beginning of December.

Also, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius has stated that the U.S. government policy regarding mammography screening “remains unchanged,” as she moved to clear up the “confusion” caused by the release of new screening recommendations.

Pallone’s statement came a day after a report by researchers from the National Cancer Institute, American Cancer Society and other major cancer organizations was published in the journal Cancer which showed that breast cancer death rates continue to decline each year partly due to the use of mammography.