Editors' Note: Guest blogger David Orentlicher is an Indiana state representative and Co-Director of the Center for Law and Health at Indiana University School of Law - Indianapolis.. David graduated from Harvard Medical School and returned to Harvard Law School for his Juris Doctor. He worked previously at the American Medical Association, directing its division of medical ethics. While there, he drafted the AMA's first ever Patients' Bill of Rights.
At one time, women and their doctors faced a serious barrier to the early detection of breast cancer--insurance companies often did not provide coverage for mammograms used to screen women for cancer. For women who could not afford the cost of a mammogram, an important opportunity for identifying treatable breast cancer would be lost. Over the past two decades, 48 states have addressed this problem by requiring insurance companies to cover screening mammograms.
John McCain would undo this progress in his health care proposal. He believes that "families should be able to purchase health insurance nationwide, across state lines". But this would allow insurance companies to evade state law requirements to cover mammograms, as well as other protections that states have passed to protect patients, including requirements to provide coverage for mental illness equal to coverage for other diseases.
We need a friend of patients, not insurance companies, in the White House. Barack Obama will maintain essential kinds of coverage in his plan.