The Federal Government Wants Racial Qualifications to Be Added to COVID-19 Treatments

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Are you ready for woke death panels?

The federal government currently controls the market of monoclonal antibodies that are used to treat cases of coronavirus and regulates the supply allocated to the states. Monoclonal antibodies are effective treatments and in some cases are literal lifesavers.

Some state leaders, like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, have requested that the federal government release its control of the market, which in many places has been unable to keep up with demand.

So far, President Joe Biden’s administration hasn’t budged. And what do we get for the federal government’s role in this treatment’s distribution?

Racialized eligibility requirements.

The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene made news when it issued guidance on their website at the beginning of the year that they would consider race when determining who would be given the potentially life-saving Covid treatments.

Under the “monoclonal antibodies eligibility” section of the guidance, the health department says it will “consider race and ethnicity when assessing individual risk, as long standing systemic health and social inequities may contribute to an increased risk of getting sick and dying from COVID-19.”

What does the proportion of people getting sick have to do with any individual who is sick and potentially in need of life-saving treatment? There is no evidence that COVID-19 affects people of different races differently.

Instead of a guideline that factored in age comorbidities, or other individual risk factors, it is simply giving preferential treatment to certain groups based on their skin color.

At least two other states—Utah and Minnesota—are implementing similar racial guidelines, according to the Washington Free Beacon.

In fact, Utah’s eligibility system rates “non-white race or Hispanic/Latinx ethnicity,” as giving a higher level of eligibility for the treatment than comorbidities like congestive heart failure.

It’s shameful that these states added race to their policies but it seems this idea is coming straight from the Food and Drug Administration. The Free Beacon explained:

When the FDA issued its emergency use authorizations for monoclonal antibodies and oral antivirals, it authorized them only for “high risk” patients—and issued guidance on what factors put patients at risk. One of those factors was race.

The FDA “fact sheet” for Sotrovimab, the only monoclonal antibody effective against the Omicron variant, states that “race or ethnicity” can “place individual patients at high risk for progression to severe COVID-19.” The fact sheet for Paxlovid, Pfizer’s new antiviral pill, uses the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s definition of “high risk,” which states that “systemic health and social inequities” have put minorities “at increased risk of getting sick and dying from COVID-19.”

The guidance sheets are nonbinding and do not require clinicians to racially allocate the drugs. But states have nonetheless relied on them to justify race-based triage.

So the Biden administration is essentially giving the green light to and even encouraging outright racial discrimination.

It seems worth asking, are these policies even legal? 

Heritage Foundation legal fellows Hans von Spakovsky and GianCarlo Canaparo wrote in The Daily Signal that they very much aren’t:

New York’s own Constitution says that no one can be subjected to any discrimination because of race or color. New York’s Civil Rights Law reaffirms it. Minnesota’s Human Rights Act does the same.

The federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits race-based discrimination across all the states, and the Affordable Care Act, widely known as Obamacare, guarantees equal treatment on the basis of race in health care.

Despite dubious legality, it often takes time for these policies to make their way through the courts. They should have never been created to begin with. 

Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time a government agency has been racialized, nor will it likely be the last. There has been a steady increase in public health and welfare programs that have injected race as criteria for who gets benefits from the government.

The city of Oakland, California, launched a universal basic income program in 2021 that would only give money to “black, indigenous, and other people of color.”

Vermont announced in April that it was making vaccines available to “all black, indigenous residents, and other people of color who are permanent Vermont residents and 16 or older.”

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott said this was justified because “this is a population of our neighbors already facing health equity disadvantages as a result of historical inequities and injustices.”

As with New York’s COVID-19 treatment program, the justification relies on the same logical fallacy. It’s justified by claiming that various minority groups are more likely to be in poverty or have worse outcomes than white Americans. But what does that assumption have to do with individual people?

The ideological justification here, because that is certainly what it is, comes from the idea—typical in critical race theory— that certain groups of people are historically oppressed and worthy of aid and sympathy, while other groups are oppressors and unworthy.

Individual circumstances according to this ideology means nothing at all. Everyone is privileged or a victim because of societal forces.

Under this new doctrine, which jettisons an older view of civil rights that relies on the belief that all should be treated equally before the law, various races must be treated unequally to achieve true equity.

Racial discrimination—once presumed to be wrong and worth eliminating in American society—is now justified to even the historical score so to speak between people.

Racialized government programs give a disturbing insight into one of the massive problems with a government takeover of health care. We are now not so far off from bureaucrats determining who gets medical care based on who the favored political groups are. It’s critical race theory as official government policy.

While courts will likely strike down some of these programs eventually, the American people must still face the reality that our most powerful institutions are rapidly engaging in the resegregation of America.

There has been a rapid abandonment of the notion that all men are created equal and endowed with unalienable rights. In its place, a new regime is developing in which, by order of birth and history as determined by unelected bureaucrats, some are more equal and perhaps more worthy of life than others.

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