Anchorage Daily News: Murkowski: "I want to be able to rely on the good judgment of a provider I trust."

Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski introduced an amendment today to the health care bill that effectively bans the government from using guidelines from the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force to deny coverage.

Murkowski's amendment, aimed at guidelines the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force released last month on breast cancer screening, would apply to private insurers and government insurance plans. It is one of numerous amendments introduced and set to be debated in the coming days.

The task force called for pushing back the age and frequency at which women get screened for breast cancer. Separately last month, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists suggested that women could wait until age 21 to start screenings for cervical cancer, and that they do not to be screened as frequently. Critics of the health care reform bill working its way through Congress have cited the breast cancer screening guidelines in particular as evidence that such quasi-government panels would wield tremendous power in determining what is and isn't covered under the overhaul.

"I want to be able to rely on the good judgment of a provider I trust," Murkowski said in remarks on the floor of the Senate.

Murkowski, along with 21 other senators from both parties, asked the Democratic chairman and the top Republican on the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions to conduct a hearing next year looking at how the task force developed its guidelines on breast cancer screening.

Her amendment also includes language on abortion -- which is shaping up to be as contentious a part of the Senate deliberations as it was in the House of Representatives. Murkowski's proposal prohibits governmental and quasi-governmental entities from classifying abortion or abortion services as "preventative care" or as a "preventative service."

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Source: By Erica Bolstad. Originally published by the