What is the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force?

This is a rush transcript from "Glenn Beck," November 18, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GLENN BECK, HOST: So what is the U.S. Preventive Service Task Force? Because it sounds happy. And what exactly are they doing?

Dr. Bernadine Healy, are you any relation to Major Healy from "I Dream of Jeannie"?


BECK: No? She is the health editor for U.S. News and World Report. I'm glad you're here. Tell me about — tell me another reason how a panel could go from, "Hey, hey, hey, you're risking your life if you don't get a mammogram," to six months later saying, "You don't really need them." Is there new information that I have missed?

HEALY: No, there isn't. And I think more importantly, that this was in the making for quite a while, because what was released on Monday were three articles in the annals of "The Journal of Medicine."

So yes, they knew all about this so it's probably three or four months that this has been in development. So I don't understand what they said six months ago, except that this particular group has a record for flip-flopping and creating whiplash for everybody who listens to them.

BECK: OK. Who's on this group? What is this group? Who picks this group? Is this a political group or -

HEALY: No, this is a government group.

BECK: That's even worse.

HEALY: They appoint — it is a government group, U.S. Preventive Task Force, but it exists within HHS and a particular subsidiary of it. It is operated by HHS. I mean, you know, all the meetings are all organized there.

But more importantly, the government appoints them. The administration appoints them. Many of these people are people who were chosen during the previous administration. But even more importantly, this particular group focuses on public health and economics and modeling and health policy.

This is very different from groups like the — you know, the gynecologists and the cancer society and the, you know, for men, the urologists, who sit down and look specifically at what's right for the patient.


BECK: Is this the same reason why you got a good shot of dying in, you know, let's say in England or Canada if you have prostrate cancer? Because they don't do any of the tests that we do now for men over in England.

HEALY: Well, you're absolutely right, Glenn. In fact, you know, we're always being dinged for not having good healthcare. Do you know in the area of cancer, we lead the world? And that includes breast cancer and prostrate cancer.

And it is, in large part, because we do vigorous and aggressive screening which other countries don't do. And in fact, we started to do PSA screening in men about — in the early '90s.

BECK: Yes.

HEALY: Since then, the deaths from prostrate cancer in this country dropped 40 percent.

BECK: Yes, but now, they're saying, "Oh, no, we shouldn't do those."

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