October 9, 2011

MESSAGE TO MEN: Your health isn’t worth the cost of prostate screenings.

Hey, it’s not like you’re women or something: “After the task force’s recommendation against routine mammograms for women under 50, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sibelius announced that the government would continue to pay for the test for women in their 40s. On Thursday, the administration announced with great fanfare that as a result of the health reform law, more people with Medicare were getting free preventive services like mammograms.” You know, somebody important.

Seriously, this advice may be medically sound — just as the mammogram advice might be. But, post-ObamaCare, everyone is going to be suspicious that (1) “health advice” will be driven by cost considerations more than health; and (2) politics will determine where money gets spent — and saved. Anecdotally, my dad’s PSA took a sudden jump, and although his doctor recommended “watchful waiting,” he went ahead and had a biopsy, which found a pretty aggressive cancer. Six months of waiting might have cost him a lot, but he’s fine now after nearly ten years. That may count as anecdote, rather than data, except that in my case it also counts as “family history,” so I think I’ll keep the PSA tests up.

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