Maggie Mahar, over at the Health Beat Blog, has a great idea:
The US Preventive Services Task Force should be independently funded by drugmakers, medical device manufacturers, and other players in the medical industry - not subject to the Congressional appropriations process.
There's a clear reason why: as we've documented in earlier posts, the Task Force has been subject to political backlash before, and Congress has taken out its anger on health agencies' budgets before. There's ample precedent for independent funding of similar groups, as well. Mahar points to the Financial Accounting Standards Board, which is funded by all public companies (which are required by law to contribute). The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation's insurance fund is similarly drawn from FDIC-insured banks. Those organizations provide a service to the entire financial system, and their functions would be significantly impaired if they had to constantly worry about irking some Member of Congress by making a policy that harmed a major local business.
Clearly, it's time to take the future of preventive medicine out of Congressional hands. Leave science to the scientists.