Republican senators tried to make the case today that new recommendations on breast cancer screening foreshadow the rationing that would take place under Democratic healthcare reform.

A preventive medicine task force recommended last week that women not necessarily get mammograms before age 50, and even then get them only two years.

"This is how rationing starts, and that's the point," Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), the Republican Whip, said at a press conference today.

"Delay of care, that's how it begins. Then denial of care. At first, it's guidelines, then the insurance companies...adopt those guidelines," he said.

"One of the real dangers, I think, that we are talking about with this health care proposal that the Democrats have put before us is the concern about rationing," Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said at a leadership press conference today.

"And we're seeing that play out a little bit this week in the news with the recommendations that came out from the Preventative Services Task Force and the recommendations on when women should receive mammograms."

Sarah Palin made a similar argument in a message posted to Facebook early this morning.

"Did costs play any role in these decisions to change the recommendations on breast and cervical cancer screenings?" she asked. 

"We need assurances that everything we’ve heard this week about fewer tests for women’s cancers is a result of patient-focused research and providing the best care for the right reasons, and not because of bureaucratic pressure to control costs."

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has said that her department does not agree with the panel's recommendation and urged women to continue regular screenings at age 40.