by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Your Medicare doctor better get to Woke School. The federal government wants her to take time away from patient care and create an “equity plan” to root out supposed “systemic racism” that allegedly pervades American health care and creates disparities in health outcomes between racial and ethnic minorities and the general population.
Pursuant to final regulations issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, physicians must comply with President Joe Biden’s “anti-racist” agenda to get additional Medicare payments if they are enrolled in Medicare’s Merit-Based Incentive Payment System. That’s almost all Medicare doctors.
Buried deep in a 1,036-page federal regulation is an instruction to Medicare physicians to “create and implement an anti-racism plan.” Issued as a final rule in the Federal Register last November, it states, “The plan should include a clinic-wide review of existing tools and policies, such as value statements or clinical practice guidelines, to ensure that they include and are aligned with a commitment to anti-racism and an understanding of race as a political and social construct, not a physiological one.”
Your doctor’s plan should include “target goals and milestones,” measures to “prevent and address racism,” “ongoing training on anti-racism,” and other measures to identify “explicit and implicit biases in patient care and addressing historic health inequities experienced by people of color.”
The CMS rule is representative of Biden’s governmentwide agenda to racialize public policy. Following Biden’s Jan. 20, 2021, Executive Order 13985 for “Advancing Racial Equity,” the CMS rule holds, “This activity began with the premise that it is important to acknowledge systemic racism as a root cause for differences in health outcomes between socially-defined racial groups.”
No serious health policy analyst denies the stark reality of health disparities among different racial and ethnic groups, but it doesn’t logically follow that racism is the root cause of those disparities.