California Healthline Daily Edition

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

GOP Lawmakers Blast HHS for Touting ‘Free’ Preventive Services

Earlier this month, 10 Republican senators wrote a letter to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius criticizing her department's efforts to market Medicare preventive services as "free," American Medical News reports.

The lawmakers wrote, "While we generally support encouraging preventative care, we are alarmed that HHS and CMS are stating that screening provided through Medicare, such as colorectal cancer screenings, prostate cancer screening, mammograms, Pap tests and pelvic exams and smoking cessation counseling are free services" (Fiegl, American Medical News, 2/17).

The letter stated that taxpayers cover the cost of such services. Specifically, it noted that "[m]ore than 40 cents of each Medicare dollar comes directly from current taxpayers each year through general revenue" (Cheung, Fierce Healthcare, 2/17).

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