There have been no lack of Republican accusations that new mammogramguidelines — crafted by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force — represent the first phase in the Democrats’ plot to rein in health costs by rationing care. (Nevermind that the task force is an independent panel; that the guidelines were approved 17 months ago — long before this year’s health reform debate began; and that the Bush-appointed leaders of the task force have testified that cost was no consideration whatsoever.)

Yesterday, at a House hearing to examine how the task force arrived at their decisions, Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) had heard enough. The 28-term veteran, who has introduced a single-payer health reform bill in every Congress since he arrived in Washington, went on an offensive of his own.

“These are the kind of scare tactics that I have heard from that side of the aisle, and always with great personal offense,” Dingell said.

They talked about how we’re going to to pull the plug on grandma; how we’re going to push euthanasia forward; how we’re going to deny health care to deserving people because of this legislation.

These recommendations … are recommendations — nothing more. And to say anything different than that is either to transmit the grossest kind of carelessness or … just plain outright deceit.

It is time for us to look at these recommendations as they are: The recommendation of a scientific panel created to make advice on what is the best medical practice.

For any Republicans who want help interpreting the bill, Dingell added, “I will be happy to volunteer time so that they come to have a better understanding of what the bill does.”