23 Jul 2009 Obama Health Care Bill Contains Race Preferences; Black Activist Speaks Out Against Proposed Unequal Allocation of Health Resources
Washington, D.C. – An examination of the 1018-page “America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009” (H.R. 3200) – the official Obama health care bill – finds several cases in which grant money for medical training can be awarded solely on factors of race and class.
Project 21 member Bishop Council Nedd II, an Anglican bishop and director of the Ecumenical Institute for Health Policy Research based at Valley Forge Christian College, is condemning the addition of racial preferences to the President’s legislation.
“The U.S. Supreme Court just struck down racial preferences. So why does a newly-introduced bill want to perpetuate something that has just been declared unconstitutional?” asked Project 21’s Nedd. “Racial preferences will not improve health care. They will increase tensions when some people are being unfairly put at the front of the line.”
Between pages 878 and 909 of H.R. 3200, in an area related to grants for medical training, the Secretary of Health and Human Services is empowered to grant preference in awarding training grants. For the specialties of “family medicine, general internal medicine, general pediatrics, geriatrics and physician assistantship” (pages 878-882); “medical residents on community-based settings” (pages 883-886) and “general, pediatric and public health dentists and dental hygienists” (pages 887-891), it is written that “the Secretary shall give preference to… entities that have a demonstrated record of… training individuals who are from underrepresented minority groups or disadvantaged backgrounds.”
Further, the bill amends the Public Health Service Act to give preferences in “advanced education nursing grants” to programs that “increase diversity among advanced education nurses” (pages 892-895). Grants for “enhancing the public health workforce” similarly give preference to “entities that have a demonstrated record of… training individuals who are from underrepresented minority groups or disadvantaged backgrounds” (pages 907-909).
A PDF version of H.R. 3200 can be found at http://edlabor.house.gov/documents/111/pdf/publications/AAHCA-BillText-071409.pdf.
Nedd added: “By making racial preferences a shortcut to federal funding, schools will reduce their quest for the best and turn it into a hunt for the right racial numbers. This, in the long run, will hurt the quality of our nation’s health care. We need to stop the social experimentation and focus on cost and performance.”
Project 21, a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization sponsored by the National Center for Public Policy Research, has been a leading voice of the African-American community since 1992. For more information, contact David Almasi at (202) 543-4110 x11 or [email protected], or visit Project 21’s website at http://www.project21.org/P21Index.html.