by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Patrick Hauf of the Washington Free Beacon issues a warning about a nonpartisan health policy group.
An influential health care policy group that claims it is nonpartisan is pushing state governments to “advance health equity”—a controversial Democratic policy agenda that includes mandatory anti-racism training and race-based hiring initiatives.
The National Academy for State Health Policy (NASHP), which says it develops state “health policy innovations and solutions” on everything from health care coverage to prescription drug prices, promoted the left-wing agenda at its annual conference this month, which included panels on “investing in equity” by increasing the number of minority employees working in health care. The nonprofit hosted a speech from Democratic governor Jay Inslee (Wash.), who last year signed a bill into law that eliminated certain crimes from background checks for health workers because of their “inequitable impact” on minority applicants.
The conference comes just months after the group released a brief titled “State Strategies to Increase Diversity in the Behavioral Health Workforce,” which encouraged states to “target increasing engagement of [Black, Indigenous, and people of color] across the workforce” through policies such as required “structural racism” training.
This push for health equity—a catchphrase among left-wing policymakers that can include the rationing of medical resources based on race—has gained traction within the Biden administration and blue state health departments in recent years, raising questions about the group’s claim to be a nonpartisan arbiter of health care policy. Oregon’s health regulatory board, for example, requires “cultural competency” training for licensed health providers. Massachusetts, meanwhile, spent $250,000 last year to launch a program to recruit minorities to its behavioral health workforce.
The end goal of such “health equity” initiatives is to help health providers “confront the systems and policies that have resulted in the generational injustice that has given rise to health inequities,” according to the Biden administration’s Centers for Disease Control guidelines.