Monday, October 6, 2008

Buy a mastectomy for each woman who could lose breast cancer screening coverage under McCain's health plan

For the price of the Iraq War, we could buy a mastectomy for each woman whose insurance company could move to Utah after the passage of McCain's health care plan, allowing the company to drop coverage for breast cancer screening.

John McCain's health care plan allows insurance companies to sell across state lines, obeying the regulations of the state in which they're headquartered while ignoring the regulations of the state in which their patients live. Currently, Utah is the only state that does not require breast cancer screening. By moving there, insurance companies could sell everywhere in the country and not cover breast cancer screening even if their patients' states required it.

There are 153 million women in the United States, excluding those in Utah.   A mastectomy cost $12,987 in 2001 dollars, or $16,066 in 2008 dollars. Buying a mastectomy for each of these women would cost $2.46 trillion, which is less than Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes' estimate of $3 trillion for the total cost of the Iraq War.