Franklin Countys First News

Letter to the Editor: Paying for Pap smears

Lance Harvell, in the chamber of Maine’s House of Representatives, objected to his son having to pay insurance premium to pay for women’s Pap smears.

I am grateful to the untold number of women who, through their health insurance premiums, helped pay to treat my prostate cancer.

I accept coverage by insurance.

I accept being forced to pay car insurance in case an “uninsured driver” hits my car.

In holding women financially responsible for their cervical Pap smears, it is noteworthy that at least 90 percent of cervical Pap smear abnormalities are caused by men through sexual intercourse.

Roger E. Condit, MD
Farmington, Maine

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24 Responses »

  1. Great one doc. Blame it on those "evil men".

  2. What Lance was doing was asking a question about mandating insurance coverage that would never be used. Granted it was sarcastic and he may have used a better example. But his case remains accurate. WE have priced many young out of insurance with excessive mandates here in Maine more than even required by Obama Care (btw Obama care does not require pap smear testing that is why it was being mentioned the day of the debate). Any individuals basic annual check up should require such items as prostate exams or pap smears depending on a persons sex and age they should be between a person and their doctor not some government mandate. BTW Lance and every other taxpayer like myself has been funding insurance here in Maine for decades now much for what they have never used, so rather than attack him maybe a thank you note to him and the rest of us is in order. After all as a former doctor you made a living on much of it.

  3. Wow! Lance must have really gotten under the skin of all the liberals with his ridicule of government health care and the absurdness it leads to. To now think the government needs to tell an individual that they do not even know what sex they are and what health needs that requires has it come to this with the nanny state? Reminds me of some dystopia novel of a century ago those writers got it closer to the mark than ever imagined.

  4. As far as I am concerned,if Lance is pi**ing off the liberals here,he is doing exactly what needs to be done before these "progressives" drag us all down the rat hole with them. The good doctor here has a lot of sand complaining here,since he has probably had a good deal of coin put in his bank account from some of these policies. Also,comparing health insurance to car insurance is like comparing a steak knife to a chain saw. Maybe you should just stick to medicine doc. Your opinion on the subject at hand is a little skewed to say the least.

  5. Oh how surprising... another attack on womens health!!

    Since i have been paying over $200 a month for health insurance, but have not been to the doctor all year... i should get refunded for the premiums i have paid out, right?? Because my money has been paying for everyone elses docotr visits (including men) and thats just not fair!!!

    How many men out there have a mother/wife/daughter etc.??? How would you feel if they were diagnosed with stage 4 cancer that could have been treated if caught in the early stages??

  6. There should be over fifty thousand insurance companies in this country, each one offer specialty insurance or catering to specific groups of people, instead government got in the way, saying only certain companies can operate here, and the must provide a, b, c to these people at this price. Government killing capitalism one day at a time.

  7. Liberals, conservatives...I am so tired of categorizations. When will we realize that we re all HUMAN BEINGS that want the same be safe, happy, healthy and live a life without struggle. Maybe then we can focus all our energy on making that dream come true for all of us. As long as we see people as "the other side" we will never find peace for all beings

  8. When men and women buy life insurance, the rates are different. Why? because men and women have different life expectancies. Some life insurance policies cost less for non-drinkers, non-smokers, and more for the obese, etc. As a result, there are a myriad of policies available and hundreds of fiercely competing companies to shop from and life insurance is very reasonably priced in the United States.

    Health insurance in Maine is just the opposite. The state mandates what will be in every policy, and there is almost no competition with only 3 companies in the market and no choice for consumers and premiums are the highest in the US. This is Dr. Condit's prescription for health care - ludicrous government mandates (pap smear insurance for men, prostate cancer insurance for women) and sky high rates.

    Dr. Condit and his fellow travelers should ask themselves :"How many die or receive substandard treatment because mandates and lack of competition have driven the cost of insurance out of the reach of hundreds of thousands of people in Maine?" THIS is the issue.

    I realize that as a medical worker, Dr. Condit profits from the current system, but it is unsustainable. The Federal government spent 20% of the total budget last year on national defense - BUT they spent 27% of all monies on health care. And guess which one is rising faster? Much faster!

    As for the idea, that men, and not women, are responsible for the spread of venereal disease: I don't know how anyone could get through medical school believing this.

  9. Do you actually believe that women are entirely responsible for venereal disease? If men had no part in it, it would not exist. Neither men nor women are soley responsible for spreading venereal disease. Both have an equal part! It doesn't spread itself you know...

    Just another sad exmple of a man to not taking responsibility... you should be ashamed of yourself!

    Or maybe you are just incredibly unintelligent. In that case, I pity you.

  10. Thanks, Dr. Condit, for pointing out the obvious - health insurance relies on a social contract in which everyone will eventually be a beneficiary.

    As to the majority of the commenters: I hope you're not on Medicare, because that would make you hypocrites. Talking about "socialized" healthcare.

    And about health insurance and the free market: an absolute paradox. Health care is the cheapest for everyone involved, the less policies are available. Why? Because less bureaucracy cuts cost. Because sharing risks cuts costs. And because stronger insurance pools make better negotiators in setting rates with pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, etc. If you don't believe me, check out the most cost-effective health insurance systems in this country: VA, Medicaid, and Medicare.

  11. Very well put Zapruder. I could not have put it better myself. Lance and his fellow common sense legislators are trying to fix a broken system,and here we have a doctor,who makes money off this system, and a wannabe politician,(Haszco) trying to tell us we are too stupid to understand whats going on. Well done.

  12. "In holding women financially responsible for their cervical Pap smears, it is noteworthy that at least 90 percent of cervical Pap smear abnormalities are caused by men through sexual intercourse."

    See? The feminists have got it all wrong. Women need to be protected. They are under perpetual threat from the male's voracious sexual appetites. I propose that the government requires males to be licensed for sexual intercourse. The safety of our womenfolk requires no less.

  13. Will everyone stop worrying! Soon, under obama, the US will have no taxes coming in, thus NO healthcare. obamacare is designed to bankrupt the country, so you liberals will suffer too. And if you really believe you won't be thrown under the bus come see me when you are working for the dems. For FREE!

  14. John Frary:

    YES. I completely agree. Lets take it one step farther and have a sexual registry with gene pools included, to weed out the ones that will weaken society. Lets get together on this subject to send out surveys and start picking out the good ones.
    So the strong are allowed to survive and the weak are forced to die out... eliminating the need for Pap smears and health care in general. I like it.. BRILLIANT

  15. Nothing mean,creepy,political or stupid to add; I would just like to say that Farmington and Franklin County have the best health care professionals and facilities of any rural area on this planet. If there is a close second it has escaped my notice. These are without exception the most skilled and dedicated people one could ever hope to find. I have been in more countries than most of you have states and more states than you
    have towns and I could not be more proud of our local staff. I know I am not alone in this thinking.Thank you for reading this. Now you can get back to your name-calling.

  16. Thank you Roger for making a good point. When we pay for health care, hopefully, we are paying for illnesses that we will not get. We join with other people to share the risk. I grant the point that Lance's son will never get cervical cancer but for purely selfish reasons he should be happy to pay for a screening test (pap smear) that will detect a woman's. When her potential cancer is treated early then it will be much less expensive and that woman will go on being valued member of society resulting in lower premiums for Lance's son. It is just possible that woman might be his mother, his sister, his daughter or his wife.
    The health care system in the United States is extremely complicated and full of unintended consequences so I, for one, am willing to forgive Lance for not understanding it.

  17. Of coarse the Doctor failed to mention that a pap smear would barely cost anything if the doctor didn't charge so much.

  18. Hear we go again. It truly is a man's world. Any test for a man is ok but one for a woman is not. What a bunch of BIGOTS. Women would like to live too you know.

  19. Trapper - Do you know what a Pap smear is, how it is taken, how it is prepared to be read and how it is read/interpreted and the results relayed..............didnt think so!
    It is a very reasonably priced test amongst the thousands out there and I would ask you to first collect it, then transfer the cells onto a slide, stain them and then sit at a microscope and determine which of the several hundred cells you see are normal and or abnormal. That is how it is done here in Farmington, how do you propose we do that for next to nothing?

  20. To Mr. Frary...............

    The truth is that female cervical health problems detected by the PAP smear are, by and large, associated with sexual transmission. Fortunately, and with rare exception, this transmission is consensual----whether within or outside 'marriage'. THAT is not for us to judge; it just IS a fact. These are health issues that should be of concern to ALL of us, not because of the gender involved, but because they involve mothers, wives, daughters, sisters, neighbors, and/or best friends......most of whom are or have been involved in consensual sexual relationships that may have unknowingly passed along assorted viruses.

    I read your postings frequently and agree with you often. But you are making this a tongue-in-cheek gender war that really isn't funny. My father died of prostate cancer; I have two brothers and a husband who have been treated for it. I am happy that my insurance premiums helped to pay for their detection tests and treatments. I rather think they are equally happy that their insurance premiums pay for my annual PAP test and any subsequent treatments that come along.

    Women don't need to be 'insured against men' and your less-than-amusing personal take on their "voracious sexual appetites". That's silly and most of us know it. Nonetheless, we all need, regardless of sex, to have access to simple testing that will save lives without having to separate it out in some kind of misbegotten gender warfare.

  21. Just Checkin- Yes, I did know what a Pap Smear was before speaking on the issue. Also a middle schooler has the skill set to examine the cells collected (biology class). As for finding the abnormal cells, one would need a medical book for that.

    Now after saying that do I think a Pap Smear is a useful test that women should have done? Yes. The issue I have is not with women having needed test but with the price tag along with that test. My issue is Doctors charge a large amount of money for very little work being done. The last check up I had (I won't start with my sons doctors) lasted 15 minutes and costed around $115. No test that I could not have done on my own but I needed to have a doctor do it. Although the doctor was very professional and I like that doctor, there is no way his time is worth $115. Now before you say it with or without insurance I am paying for that bill. Why is insurance so high because the bills they are paying are high.

    Finally, I have major issues with a doctor telling the people basically to just deal with the price of insurance. If a doctor really cared about people and their health then they would try and find ways to help people. They just wouldn't write into the local paper and say accept it.

  22. Trapper- hope the women in your life are not having their paps read by middle schooler's with a book. You have obviously never had a serious medical issue nor do I wish one on you. I only hope that if/when one arises you have more than the experience of a middle school biology lesson and a medical book to pull you through. Good luck with that!

  23. Just checking- anyone who isn't colorblind could read a pap smear. You just look for the orange colored cells. Those are the bad ones.

  24. WOW! So what does an inflammatory cell look like and what is it's significance, what is the difference between atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance and those that are significant, what does an endometrial cell look like and what is the significance of an abundance of them.................let your wife know you will read her next one for her and see how that goes for ya!