Column: Administration ignores medical science, standards


Under Joe Biden, no aspect of our lives is safe from the long reach of federal bureaucrats who are more interested in imposing their own values on Missourians than they are in improving our lives and livelihoods. If there’s one area that should be free from politics, it’s the care we receive from our physicians. The highest priority for every physician should be providing high-quality care to every patient. Politics should be the furthest thing from a physician’s mind. But now under a new rule put forward by this administration, politics – and not the care being provided – is the highest priority at the doctor’s office.
Under this new rule, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services included a new quality metric that affects how physicians are paid, and it effectively requires doctors to craft so-called “anti-racism plans” in their practice. Medicare will pay physicians who adopt an anti-racism plan more than they will pay physicians who provide quality care. Most concerningly, these anti-racism plans must define race as “a political and social construct, not a physiological one.” This is the same strategy used by proponents of Critical Race Theory to indoctrinate our kids in liberal ideology while they’re supposed to be learning in school.
The radical changes the administration is making are not just political and inappropriate – they also completely ignore medical science and standards of care. It is a medical fact that genetic predispositions exist among individuals of different races. For example, cystic fibrosis is significantly more common in white Americans than in other groups, whereas genetic mutations that can cause breast cancer are more common in Jewish women of Eastern European descent than in other groups. Black Americans are 24 times more likely to be born with sickle cell anemia than white Americans. Diseases like these are why it is critical for doctors to ask biographical questions regarding a patient’s race.
This past February, I led several of my Republican colleagues on the Ways and Means Committee in writing the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to express our concern over this disturbing rule change and to urge the Biden administration to withdraw this misguided rule. The response we received from Biden’s HHS was silence.
So on April 28, I had the opportunity to question the Biden’s Secretary of Health and Human Services, Xavier Becerra, about this radical new rule. The Secretary not only wouldn’t respond about the merits of the rule, he denied its existence! But I brought the receipts – I confronted him with a copy of his agency’s own rulemaking, whose “Proposed Activity Title” is “Create and Implement and Anti-Racism Plan.” The fact the secretary would deny its existence is further proof of how radical and harmful this rulemaking is!
Because of how the administration wrote this rule, adopting an anti-racism plan – which is purely a political document – will result in higher physician payments than properly managing medication for a patient prior to surgery so that the patient doesn’t die on the surgical table, crafting a personalized mental health treatment plan for a patient, or even making a timely cancer diagnosis that could save a life.
There are no Republican or Democrat diseases. At the doctor’s office, patients deserve high-quality care centered around their needs – not around their race or their political ideology. Instead, Washington Democrats are putting politics ahead of patients and damaging medicine in the process. This plan is unacceptable, and I will fight back against those who are trying to inject politics into the care our physicians provide us.
Congressman Jason Smith (R-Salem) represents Missouri’s Eighth Congressional District. He can be reached by email at


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