As Harry Reid pressures holiday-homebound Democrats to vote for a start of the Senate health care debate, Republican resisters have found a new weapon to use against the bill--a sudden deep concern about how it might threaten women's bodies.
Seizing on a quasi-government task force's report this week recommending that annual mammograms start at 50 rather than 40, the GOP has gone into full outrage mode.
"This is how rationing begins," warns Rep. Marsha Blackburn. "This is the little toe in the edge of the water. This is when you start getting a bureaucrat between you and your physician."
Never mind that Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius immediately made it clear that the US Preventive Services Task Force “is an outside independent panel of doctors and scientists who make recommendations” and who neither “set federal policy” nor “determine what services are covered by the federal government.”
“The task force has presented some new evidence for consideration,” she noted, “but our policies remain unchanged. Indeed, I would be very surprised if any private insurance company changed its mammography coverage decisions as a result of this action.”
In fact, the recommendation has provided a starting point, as it was intended to do, for debate of the issue, rather than a mandate, and has met heavy resistance from physicians and patients as well as the American Cancer Society.
But the Republican opposition is doing its thing again. Just as it converted voluntary end-of-life discussions into death panels, the know-nothings are trying to turn a scientific finding into a mandate to frighten American women.
The GOP elephant these days is looking more and more like the three monkeys who see no evil, hear no evil but speak it at every possible turn.