Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Healthcare reform could provide race as a factor

Jim Brown of, has just reported that "A former attorney with the Justice Department says the House healthcare bill pushes hospitals, medical schools, and other recipients of federal dollars to meet racial and ethnic quotas.

The Washington Times reported this week that four members of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights want President Obama and Congress to rewrite some "little-noticed" provisions of the healthcare bill that factor in race when awarding billions of dollars in contracts, scholarships, and grants. In its letter outlining the request, the Commission quotes a Harvard medical researcher who said the notion that bridging the health status gap by expanding the number of minority physicians and providing culture-related training is "grounded in hope more than science." Concurring with that stance is Roger Clegg, president and general counsel of the Center for Equal Opportunity. He says it is ridiculous -- and unconstitutional -- for medical schools and hospitals to weigh skin color or ethnic background when admitting students or hiring doctors. "Of all the professions where people are least likely to care about the person's skin color and are most likely to want simply the best-qualified person working on them, it would have to be healthcare -- it would have to be doctors and nurses," says Clegg. The Center spokesman contends that few people are concerned about the "color" of their doctor. "If he's about to cut you open, we just want to make sure that he's got the best training possible and he's the best-qualified person possible," he offers. Clegg argues most Americans believe society has "long since reached the point where we ought to be putting race and ethnicity behind us and just hiring the most qualified people." Clegg says the racial preference provisions in the healthcare bill are just another example of the politically correct, left-wing ideology promoted in the entire bill."

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