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Black Activist Speaks Out Against Race Preferences in Health Care Bill

Friday, September 18, 2009 General News J E 4
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WASHINGTON, July 23 An examination of the 1018-page "America's Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009" (HR 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's 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 878-909 of HR 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" (883-886) and "general, pediatric and public health dentists and dental hygienists" (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."

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" (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" (907-909).

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 is supported by the National Center for Public Policy Research. Visit Project 21's website at http://www.nationalcenter.org/P21Index.html.

SOURCE National Center for Public Policy Research
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