Saturday, November 12, 2005

Mastectomy Bill/Petition

I received an e-mail from a relative of mine. I'll cut out the personal part and just post the generic, chain-letter part:
> > Mastectomy Bill in Congress
> > It takes 2 seconds to do this and is very important ..
> > please
> > take the time and do it really quick!
> > Breast Cancer Hospitalization Bill - Important
> > legislation for
> > all women.
> > Please send this to everyone in your address book. If
> > there
> > was ever a time when our voices and choices should be
> > heard, this is one of
> > those times. If you are receiving this it's because I
> > think you will take the 30
> > seconds to go and vote on this issue and send it on to
> > others you know who
> > will do the same.
> > There's a bill called the Breast Cancer Patient
> > Protection Act
> > which will require insurance companies to cover a
> > minimum 48-hour
> > hospital stay for patients undergoing a mastectomy.
> > It's about eliminating the
> > "drive-through mastectomy" where women are forced to
> > go home hours after
> > surgery against the wishes of their doctor, still
> > groggy from anesthesia and sometimes with
> > drainage tubes still attached.
> > Lifetime Television has put this bill on their web
> > page with a
> > petition drive to show your support. Last year over
> > half the House signed on.
> > Sign the petition by clicking on the web site below.
> > You need
> > not give more than your name and zip code number.
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > This takes about 2 seconds. PLEASE PASS THIS ON to
> > your
> > friends and family. THANKS

I'd be inclined to support a bill like this that was more generalized--there are, in my opinion, way too many procedures that are classified as "outpatient" these days. These are especially problematic for people who live by themselves, without a spouse or SO to help take care of them. Several years ago, in fact, I had a small cyst removed from my back, but the wound was large enough to require stitches. It was difficult keeping the wound clean without any help (not to mention how annoying it was when the nurse glibly instructed me to "have your significant other help you wash this every day"). Imagine how awful it must be for people who have had procedures that can actually be called "surgery."

I hesitate to support a bill that singles out a particular type of operation like this. The question is, would this legislation, if passed, act as a chink in the armor of the healthcare cartel, or would it generate a response on the part of HMOs that would make further legislation even more difficult to pass? And what happens if it gains significant support in Congress but Dubya vetos it? Given how any action at all tends to result in a negative response on the part of the healthcare industry (they can always be counted on to carefully guard their interests), I am not inclined to support the petition. I really hate saying "no" to something like this, but I think it's pretty clear a lot more is needed than just this one thing. I am also uncomfortable that this focuses on just one sex. Access to decent healthcare is not a women's issue. It's an everyone issue.

However, I will hotlink the address above, in case anyone else who happens to read this might be interested in offering their support to it.


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