Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Darn it: I'm getting a mammogram

I wasn't going to get one this year. I am in my forties and started getting mammograms in my thirties, thanks to a family history of cancer. But it's been awhile and I was going to put it off this year but I figure with all that is going on in the healthcare debate, mammograms might be rationed or just not available for many of us.

And, contrarian that I am, I figured that by going against the just released recommendations, I'm going get all the healthcare I desire, cause, at this point, I can. So to all you contrarians like me out there who were thinking of putting off a mammogram, I say, schedule that appointment ASAP. For who knows how long before ObamaCare makes this medical test a thing of the past?

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20 Comments:

Blogger Bill said...

Can't have a mammogram. Got a shortage of "mamm." Do they have prostate-o-grams?

Bill

12:49 PM, November 24, 2009  
Blogger Andrew C said...

Since you have a family history of cancer, you're actually following the recommendations by getting a mammogram. They only recommended waiting until 50 for women with no risk factors for breast cancer.

1:06 PM, November 24, 2009  
Blogger Professor Hale said...

Further, none of the current federal plans would prevent you from getting one, they would just not pay for it (likely). Whether or not your insurance plan would cover it is between you and them. I am sure gold plated plans will continue to cover this as often as you like (but at a higher price since they will have the expensive plan surcharge).

One of the great things about US health practice is that you can buy whatever you want, if you pay for it yourself.

1:35 PM, November 24, 2009  
Blogger Helen said...

Professor Hale,

"Further, none of the current federal plans would prevent you from getting one, they would just not pay for it (likely)"

We don't know what the health care bill will do to patient rights. Will doctors who take certain plans be allowed to charge outside fees for services they are not allowed to provide? Or will they have to stick to what a plan says it will pay? It may not be so easy to take cash. If a doctor takes Medicare or Medicaid and you are on it, he or she is not allowed to charge more for a service and perhaps may not be able to perform that service for you for cash. It depends how the rules are written. Providers generally will have to "opt out" of government plans in order to take cash. How many will? Will there be a number of docs who work cash only? Here is a good example of what can happen to a practitioner who takes cash if they also accept Medicare:

http://www.bmedreport.com/archives/3981

As the article I linked points out:

"There is apparently no escape from our horrendously litigious and complex healthcare system – even if you choose not to participate." This will leave many docs refusing or unable to take cash.

2:11 PM, November 24, 2009  
Blogger Larry J said...

In the longer term, there's also the question of test availability. Several months ago, I heard a commentator (IIRC, Mark Steyn) make the claim that there are more MRI machines in one American city (IIRC, Philadelphia) than in all of Canada. MRI machines are expensive and so are the operators. I don't know if the claim is true but it does give me pause.

Under government run health care, one way to lower costs is to cut back on the availability of expensive technology like CT machines, MRIs, and perhaps even better mammogram technology. As existing machines become unsupportable, they may not be replaced. That becomes a defacto means of rationing health care.

2:34 PM, November 24, 2009  
Blogger Professor Hale said...

This will leave many docs refusing or unable to take cash.

Even if many doctors choose to refuse cash, some will still accept it. As long as the government (law) does not forbid private practice, and this proposed bill does not do that yet, you have options.

The opt-out mandate is a clear case of government insanity and how their interference has made health care in the USA worse, not better. Adding more government regulation to the mix cannot be better. "cannot charge for future service"? Fine, no future service. Tell patient to go find someone else.

3:14 PM, November 24, 2009  
Blogger DADvocate said...

My sister-in-law had surgery for breast cancer yesterday. My older sister had breast cancer a few years ago but is now cancer free. Both are over 50 years old.

We'll see more "scientific" mandates like this soon.

60 Minutes had a episode on health care reform this past Sunday. They talked about how countries with government run health care had limits on coverage because costs could otherwise bankrupt the government. It didn't seem to cross their minds that if you don't have government run health care then health care can't bankrupt the government.

4:40 PM, November 24, 2009  
Blogger DADvocate said...

gold plated plans

I'm sure Senators, Congresspersons and other federal employees will have the gold plated plans. They already do and they're exempted from the proposed reforms.

Reforms for thee but not for me.

4:43 PM, November 24, 2009  
Blogger Mary said...

You show em helen! (and remember, if you're lucky enough to find a lump on the mammogram, you can really stick it to the man via an ultrasound, needle biopsy, and even radiation treatments, all still covered by your insurance, yes you can! while you still can! I'm rooting for ya if the pink lady survivor club is what you're aiming for; let us all know how you make out?

7:20 PM, November 24, 2009  
Blogger br549 said...

Bill, just open the freezer door, and slam it closed on your head a few times. I think that's as close as we man can come to it.

7:40 PM, November 24, 2009  
Blogger br549 said...

I see mary's new meds haven't taken effect yet.

7:41 PM, November 24, 2009  
Blogger Ern said...

Wise decision, Dr. Helen. I'm told that mammograms are somewhat painful. I'm also told that they're worth it.

I can confirm that prostate examinations aren't pleasant, either, although mine haven't been nearly as bad as I'd been led to believe they'd be. I'm about due for another one, and a PSA test. While men do, on occasion, get breast cancer, prostate cancer is a far bigger concern for us.

I hope that your mammogram is negative.

8:10 PM, November 24, 2009  
Blogger My Facial Peel said...

Do it. I had a mammogram last year and they found a spot. I had a sonogram and they determined that it wasn't cancer. But they are 'watching' it. This is how they find cancer, but finding changes from one film to the next. Waiting 10 years is NOT a good idea. I also just had a colonoscopy. I'm getting everything I can get done, done. Before they ration it.

8:38 PM, November 24, 2009  
Blogger Helen said...

br549,

"just open the freezer door, and slam it closed on your head a few times. "

Sorry, but I have never had any pain from a mammogram. I think some women do but it is one of the least painful or bothersome tests I have ever been through. But then, I've had wires attached to my heart and been shocked a number of times, so maybe my view is skewed.


Ern,

Thanks.

4:09 AM, November 25, 2009  
Blogger fred said...

the govt recommendations remain as they have been. As for health plans: no definitive stuff in place as yet to badmouth it...in fact, what we do know: you can keep the health insurance you now have if you like it...as for the millions of women without health coverage? that's their problem?

9:16 AM, November 25, 2009  
Blogger I R A Darth Aggie said...

do they have prostate-o-grams?

Why, yes, yes they do! snaps on rubber glove Please bend over, this won't hurt me a bit.

Odd...taxes, prostrate exam, same position...

9:16 AM, November 25, 2009  
Blogger Bill said...

Thanks Darth. I really needed that image, especially given my recent sudden onset tax experience.

Bill

12:20 PM, November 25, 2009  
Blogger bmmg39 said...

Hop to it, Dr. Helen. And I, too, hope all goes well for you.

8:36 PM, November 25, 2009  
Blogger Locomotive Breath said...

you can keep the health insurance you now have if you like it

Right up to the point where it stops being offered.

9:12 AM, November 28, 2009  
Blogger nickg said...

Jolly good advice.

I hear it's generally best to numb the area first.numb.. numb...numb....numb!

Hope it's going well Helen

Nick in South Africa

3:14 PM, December 02, 2009  

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