MARK KIRK’S DESCENT CONTINUES…. It’s tempting to think Rep. Mark Kirk (R), running for the Senate in a traditionally “blue” state, would be careful about shifting too far to the right. Sure, he has a primary, but Kirk is expected to win the Republican nomination fairly easily.

Alas, Kirk’s descent continues unabated. In the latest example, the congressman suggests, in writing, that women may be denied mammograms if health care reform becomes law. In a new mailing, Kirk writes:

This month, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommended eliminating mammograms for women ages 40-49. The panel concluded that while thousands of women’s lives would be saved by continuing the test, “the net benefit is small” for the population as a whole.

Currently, this is only an advisory recommendation. But under the health care bill moving through the Senate, this recommendation could become law.

TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK: Should women between the ages of 40 and 49 be denied access to life-saving mammograms?

Kirk has to know how ridiculous this is. “This recommendation could become law”? According to whom? In Grown-Up Land, this recommendation has no chance of becoming law.

In a statement, DNC National Press Secretary Hari Sevugan called the mailing “a lie,” adding, “This is just another pathetic example of a Republican party that offers the American people nothing but fear and lies when what they desperately need is leadership and solutions.”

A recent New York Times editorial explained Kirk actually has the story backwards: “There is virtually no chance that any insurers, either public or private, will deny coverage to anyone based on these recommendations. Government and industry officials have said that explicitly and, in fact, every state but Utah requires private insurers to pay for mammograms for women starting in their 40s…. The only part of the reform bills that could affect mammography would only make them more accessible. Under the legislation, the secretary of health and human services might be given authority to waive Medicare co-payments for prevention services that rank highly in the opinion of this task force. Since the task force gave a low grade to screening women in their 40s, the secretary could not waive cost-sharing for them.”

It’s a genuine shame to see what some Republicans are willing to do to get a win a primary.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.