Sorting out Exactly Who Appointed the (Now Borderline Criminal) Panel Who Made the (Apparently Execrable) Anti-Mammogram Recommendations

Gratifyingly, Democrats in Congress and the Obama Administration have reacted to this government panel’s recommendation by setting land speed records distancing themselves from it.
But in view of the public outrage that ensued, a scapegoat had to be identified. Who appointed the members of this panel??
Brace yourself. Because, of course …
It’s George Bush’s fault!
Yes, that threadbare excuse hilariously rears its hoary head yet again, this time, almost one year into the administration of a new president. [H/T NewsBuster’s Mike Bates.] Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius Wednesday on CNN’s Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer:

This panel was appointed by the prior administration, by former President George Bush, and given the charge to routinely look at a whole host of services …

And clearly reading from the same script, Senator Majority Whip Dick Durbin piped in. From Politico:

“The recommendation by this medical panel has been rejected by virtually everyone, including the current administration,” Durbin said. “They were appointed by President Bush.”

Yeah, good times.
Slight glitch, people. The New York Times’s Gina Kolata, after some good, old-fashioned research, reports that the panel is apolitical and deliberately so. Further, panel members

said they never thought of themselves as being political appointees, much less being Bush appointees.

In fact, NewsBuster’s Mike Bates, with more good, old-fashioned research, has determined that the person who had ultimate say in the current composition of the panel, Dr. Carolyn M. Clancy, is a Democrat. [Oh, the horror …] But setting aside, as Durbin and Sebelius did, the apolitical nature of this panel, I would still disagree with their conclusion. My own view is that the Office of the Presidency of the United States is responsible to act on and keep track of an incredible number of matters, large (mostly) and small. Accordingly, it is natural, indeed, necessary, for the occupant of that office to delegate some of those responsibilities, including the appointment of government health panels.
If, however, partisans ducking for cover insist on taking the slant that the President of the United States is personally responsible for the composition of this panel and for its odious recommendations, wouldn’t it be far more accurate to point out that it has been eleven months since President Obama took office and, therefore, how much can he truly claim to care about women’s health issues if he has not taken the time to appoint the right people to such a panel?
Again, this is not how I see it and neither do a lot of people, I would venture to guess. But this “re-slanting” would be a perfect understandable reaction to the fatuous attempt to blame an official who has been out of office for almost a year. [Side note: Dick Durbin is an elected official so presumably cannot be bothered to do minimal fact checking when deflecting political fallout. But isn’t it slightly alarming that the head of Health and Human Services doesn’t understand the nature and composition mechanism of one of the panels under her purview?] More to the point, if the Democrat Party cannot determine with any accuracy who is responsible for a particular misstep, especially when it is committed by one of their own, they need to at least come up with a fresher blame target. The credibility shelf life of “It’s Bush’s fault!” having expired long ago, it is now not so much an excuse as a punch line.
… or, in keeping with the underlying theme, don’t.

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Warrington Faust
Warrington Faust
12 years ago

I am glad to see everyone scrambling away from the Anti-Mammogram Recommendations.
This is probably America’s first taste of government funded medical care.
What the panel said is bureaucratically understandable. The number of lives saved by mamograms does not justify the cost when budget is scarce. When government and “budgets” gain ascendancy, we will see more of this. It is triage by budget.

12 years ago

As Ann Althouse observed, women make more and better use of healthcare. When the rationing comes, it will as the old joke news headline reports, women and children hurt most. Overutilizers……

12 years ago

Death Panels anyone ?

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