Damage Control

White House Backtracks on Mammograms

Mammography has turned into a controversial topic. This week an influential panel, the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force, made up of independent experts recommended mammograms every two years for women in their 50s, as opposed to the previous recommendations of annual mammograms for women over 40. Although the task force decided to address the issue and completed its research long before the presidential election or health-care debate, the report prompted widespread worries about the possible rationing of health care, prompting Heath and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to release a statement stressing that "an outside independent panel of doctors and scientists who...do not set federal policy and... don't determine what services are covered by the federal government" had issued the recommendations.