Hat tip to The Heritage Foundation for raising public awareness about President Joe Biden’s new “anti-racism” rule for medical doctors, which will kick in on January 1.
It seems that the Biden team wants physicians to reflect on what “populations” they “prioritize” in their practices and come up with an “equity plan” in order to root out “systemic racism” that allegedly pervades the American health care system and is a root cause of differences in health outcomes between socially-defined racial groups.
Plans 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.“
The plan should also include “targets, 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.”
Doctors treat individual patients, not categories or groups. They are not trained to be social engineers.
True, these new rules would only apply to doctors enrolled in Medicare’s optional Merit-Based Incentive Payment System; but practically speaking, that’s almost all Medicare doctors. While few would deny that there are health disparities among different ethnic and racial groups, it seems counterintuitive to require physicians to add to their already monumental administrative burdens.
Predictably, litigation is already underway using legal arguments similar to those that led the Supreme Court to overturn the Environmental Protection Agency’s fossil fuel emissions rules last June. In that case, the Court ruled that the EPA issued restrictions that went beyond what Congress authorized them to do. Indeed, nowhere does the Medicare law authorize anything even vaguely resembling the Biden administration’s anti-racism rule.
In fact, Section 1801 of the Medicare law reads:
Nothing in this title shall be construed to authorize any federal officer or employee to exercise any supervision or control over the practice of medicine or the manner in which medical services are provided, or over the selection, tenure, or compensation of any officer or employee of any institution, agency, or person providing health services; or to exercise any supervision or control over the administration or operation of any such institution, agency or person.