What’s the main mission of the federal Department of Health and Human Services? On paper, it’s supposed to be “improving the health, safety, and well-being of America.” But HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra has a different, and much more radical, answer: Put race at the center of health care.
Look no further than Sec. Becerra’s press conference on the anniversary of his confirmation. He said that “health equity pervades everything” his department is doing. While that may sound harmless, it is a fundamental rejection of core American principles, and a fundamental assault on the health and well-being HHS is supposed to promote. “Health equity” requires looking at everything through the lens of race. Worse, it demands that race determine patients’ access to and quality of care, based on the false assumption that different health outcomes are the result of supposedly racist doctors .
The proof is in HHS’ new policy of bribing doctors with higher Medicare payments to develop “anti-racism plans.” In practice, that means providing preferential care to minority patients, while deprioritizing care for others. By eroding doctors’ ability to provide personalized care to the patient in front of them, HHS is injuring people’s health.
The White House has also directed HHS to develop a “Health Equity Task Force.” The task force will soon issue recommendations centered on “mitigating inequities” and “preventing such inequities in the future.” You can bet the recommendations will involve more race-based care and less focus on the specific needs of individual patients.
None of this fits with the real mission of HHS. It should be striving to give everyone access to world-class health care, while unleashing the innovation that will make our medical system even better. Instead, under Sec. Becerra, HHS is focused on some patients to the exclusion of others. Whatever else that is, it isn’t the health care that Americans expect and deserve.
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