The Biden administration’s Health and Human Services’ secretary was put on the defensive when asked to defend policies alleged to be racist.
Palmer asked Secretary Becerra about his agency’s so-called “anti-racism” policy. Palmer worried such a policy would raise questions about treatment in the minds of prospective patients.
“It raises questions in the mind of minorities that, if they see a physician who’s not of the same race or color that they’re not going to get quality care,” Palmer reasoned. “And it undermines the confidence of people who are White that they’re going to be discriminated against.”
He asked Becerra to address that concern.
“First, we don’t have a policy as you described,” the secretary responded. “Our policy is to tackle the disparities we see in health care access.” He spoke of many Black women being dismissed by doctors when they present with pain issues rising from sickle cell anemia, which is not always properly diagnosed.
“We’re simply trying to say no one should be denied health care simply because of disparities that exist to prevent you from getting the care you need,” Becerra added.
The Alabama Republican countered that such policies already exist in federal law.
“In fact, one of my best friends, Doctor Tim Townes, is one of the leading researchers in the world at the University of Alabama, Birmingham in sickle cell research, and he’s White,” noted Palmer. “And he’s devoted his entire career to that. And I want you to understand there is a divide that’s being created here.”
The congressman opined the HHS “anti-racism policy” would undermine public confidence in health care.
“It creates serious concerns that if you go into a doctor’s office and you think that, if you put down that you’re White…” began the congressman.
“Much of this is driven by mis-and-disinformation,” interrupted Becerra. “I would challenge you to show me where in our policies we call anything we’re doing ‘anti-racism’ policies. We’re just trying to make sure everyone has equal access to health care.”
Do No Harm chairman Dr. Stanley Goldfarb believes a government-sponsored anti-racism plan is included in a proposal inserted in the HHS fiscal planning for 2022. Do No Harm describes itself as an “association of medical professionals combatting the attack on our health care system by woke activists.” The group’s Twitter account features a post that included a copy of the document.
“This document clearly details the creation and implementation of an ‘Anti-Racism Plan’ to ensure that clinics ‘are aligned with a commitment to anti-racism and an understanding of race as a political and social construct, not a physiological one,'” Do No Harm’s caption reads.
Palmer declared any doctors discriminating against anyone for any reasons need to be dealt with in another manner.
“That is totally unacceptable,” he exclaimed.
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