November 30, 2011
As the holiday travel season approaches, millions of American air passengers will become painfully reacquainted with Transportation Security Agency (TSA) screening measures. Passengers must submit to either medically unnecessary X-rays or intrusive gropings. Yet in the realm of health care the federal government has adopted a new policy of discouraging routine screening tests for many cancers. Although these two policies may seem superficially contradictory, they demonstrate an underlying common theme of the government seeking ever-greater control over our bodies and our freedom.
Screening travelers and screening patients share some common features. In both cases the goal is to sort through a large, mostly-normal population to identify the relatively few problem cases — either an undetected terrorist or a hidden cancer.
The TSA’s current approach of mass passenger screening has long angered many Americans.
Indeed it has.