At least, that seems to be the implication of this NPR piece. Price, Donald Trump’s nominee for Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary, is seen as someone who would go after a panel of medical experts who recommend fewer cancer screenings.
The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force, a group of mostly physician and academics from top universities, reviews medical practices to see whether they are supported by research and evidence.
Under the Affordable Care Act, the USPSTF’s recommendations have been used to guide private insurers. If the group gives a test high marks, insurers are required to cover it. If it doesn’t, they are free not to.
But letters reviewed by ProPublica show that Price twice pushed HHS to quash the task force’s recommendations to limit widely used cancer screenings. The panel said that the screenings too often led to unnecessary biopsies and other harmful treatment.
I’m… not exactly sure what the line of attack here is. It is widely held medical belief that the best way to fight cancer is to catch it early, so it seems like a bad idea to recommend fewer screenings, right? Even if it leads to biopsies and other treatments, wouldn’t that be better than, I dunno, getting cancer?
I’m not trying to be flippant about the disease, either. It sucks. It needs to be fought at its earliest stages. To recommend that insurers cover fewer of the screenings necessary to detect it seems absolutely absurd.
Unless, of course, you think about it from the angle of “How to we keep insurers from shelling out too much money since they are already going to lose a lot of it due to covering pre-existing conditions?” All of a sudden, it seems a lot more like a conspiracy than medical advice.
I’m not saying I’m smarter than a panel of higher education officials and doctors. But I am not saying Price isn’t, either. It’s likely he saw through this as well and wanted to put a stop to it. You know, since he’s a doctor and all.