December 03, 2009

Crapo Sees Vote As A Defeat For Women's Health

Amendment protecting mammograms & preventive measures defeated

Washington, D.C. - The U.S. Senate today defeated an amendment that would have guaranteed women the right to seek preventive health care without government interference, something Idaho Senator Mike Crapo said is a bad omen for a health care bill written behind closed doors and costing more than $2 trillion. The amendment referenced by Crapo was offered by Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska). It would have prevented the government from standing in the way of preventive health care services sought by patients.

"The Senate took a vote on a simple proposal-to guarantee that the government would not stand in the way of preventive health procedures, such as mammograms for women," Crapo said. "The amendment was defeated. Apparently to many Senators, it is more important to gamble on the bureaucracy to decide whether a woman can receive a mammogram than it is for her and her doctor to make that decision. Anyone who argues we are not looking at rationing health care should look at the vote we took today."

The Murkowski amendment was defeated by a vote of 41 to 59, with Crapo supporting the legislation. The Senate instead approved an amendment by Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-Maryland) that does not even mention mammograms; it leaves such decisions up to a government panel to decide decisions about coverage. The National Right to Life Committee also expressed their opposition to the Mikulski amendment because the legislative language left the door open for possible federal funding of abortions.

"We had before us an amendment that guarantees a woman's right to seek mammograms or other preventive heath care procedures without government interference," Crapo added. "Instead, we get a measure offering similar and less effective legislative language that leaves these decisions in the hands of government bureaucrats."

Crapo agreed with one of the Senate's two physicians, Senator Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma) that instead of going after the fraud and waste in Medicare programs, the majority of Senators have decided on a plan that rations care. Crapo said it would be better to focus on plans that offer incentives for wellness, like mammograms, and other measure to lower health care costs, not raise them through a new government bureaucracy.

"Given the recent controversy over a government-appointed panel advising at what age women should seek mammograms, it is ironic today that the majority of Democratic Senators believe a government bureaucrat or the Department of Health and Human Services should come between women and their doctor on such decisions. How is this process an improvement over the good preventive care available to women now?"