Racial Preferences in ObamaCare
Though there seem to be no other news organizations covering the topic, it is nonetheless true that ObamaCare includes racial preferences, called "priorities" in the law. When the first version of ObamaCare appeared in a bill, I wrote about the racial preferences in it here for American Thinker on July 21, 2009. Now that we have a final version of the law, it is reasonably safe to elaborate how those preferences have evolved.
(All 906 pages of ObamaCare, officially known as The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Public Law 111-148, 111th Congress, can be read here.)
Under ObamaCare, if a medical or dental school wants to increase its chances of receiving many different kinds of grants and contracts from the federal government, it should "have a record of training individuals who are from underrepresented minority groups" or "from underrepresented minorities." This is because ObamaCare requires the secretary of health and human services to give priority to the entities that have demonstrated such a record in the awarding of these grants and contracts to medical and dental schools and other entities.
ObamaCare does not state what would qualify as a "record" of such training, so we can expect medical and dental schools and the other entities to do whatever they think they can get away with to train as many "individuals who are from underrepresented minority groups" or "from underrepresented minorities" as necessary to have a better "record" in this regard than their competitors. ObamaCare creates a significant financial incentive for medical and dental schools and other entities to lower admission standards for "individuals who are from underrepresented minority groups" or "from underrepresented minorities" if that is what it takes to have the winning "record" of such training.
In Section 5301, ObamaCare states that the HHS secretary:
... may make grants to, or enter into contracts with, ... [a] school of medicine or osteopathic medicine ... which the Secretary has determined is capable of carrying out such grant or contract --
(A) to plan, develop, operate, or participate in an accredited professional training program, including an accredited residency or internship program in the field of family medicine, general internal medicine, or general pediatrics for medical students, interns, residents, or practicing physicians as defined by the Secretary[.]
ObamaCare then states that the "[s]ecretary may make grants to or enter into contracts with accredited schools of medicine or osteopathic medicine to establish, maintain, or improve ... programs that improve clinical teaching and research in" the fields defined above, or "programs that integrate academic administrative units in" the fields defined above "to enhance interdisciplinary recruitment, training, and faculty development."
In a subsection entitled "Priorities in Making Awards," ObamaCare states: "In awarding grants or contracts under" the paragraphs quoted above, "the Secretary shall give priority to qualified applicants that ... have a record of training individuals who are from underrepresented minority groups[.]"
ObamaCare's race-based "priorities" extend to dental education as well. Section 5303 of ObamaCare states that the "[s]ecretary may make grants to, or enter into contracts with, a school of dentistry, public or nonprofit private hospital, or a public or private nonprofit entity" for the following purposes:
(A) to plan, develop, and operate, or participate in, an approved professional training program in the field of general dentistry, pediatric dentistry, or public health dentistry for dental students, residents, practicing dentists, dental hygienists, or other approved primary care dental trainees, that emphasizes training for general, pediatric, or public health dentistry;
(B) to provide financial assistance to dental students, residents, practicing dentists, and dental hygiene students who are in need thereof, who are participants in any such program, and who plan to work in the practice of general, pediatric, public heath dentistry, or dental hygiene;
(C) to plan, develop, and operate a program for the training of oral health care providers who plan to teach in general, pediatric, public health dentistry, or dental hygiene;
(D) to provide financial assistance in the form of traineeships and fellowships to dentists who plan to teach or are teaching in general, pediatric, or public health dentistry; ...
(F) to meet the costs of projects to establish, maintain, or improve predoctoral and postdoctoral training in primary care programs[.]
In a subsection entitled "Priorities in Making Awards" ObamaCare states: "With respect to training provided for under this section, the Secretary shall give priority in awarding grants or contracts to the following ... [q]ualified applicants that have a record of training individuals who are ... from underrepresented minorities."
Apart from the legality of such "priorities" under the U.S. Constitution and the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and the unfairness to those who are not "individuals who are from underrepresented minority groups" or "from underrepresented minorities," ObamaCare will foster the racial preference or "priority" climate that continues to stigmatize and demean those individuals who receive the preferences or "priorities." For example, if you know nothing else about two university students, except that one was probably admitted under a program where intellectual standards were reduced and the student received a preference for being the child of an alumnus, and the other was admitted under more rigorous intellectual standards without receiving any non-merit-based preference, what are you going to think about these two students? Is the answer any different when the preference is based on race rather than an alumni relationship?
A non-merit-based preference program based on an individual's physical appearance or surname is no less a "badge of inferiority" than the one condemned in Brown v. Board of Education. Thanks to ObamaCare's racial preference or "priority" program, which provides a financial incentive for medical and dental schools to lower admission standards for "individuals who are from underrepresented minority groups" or "from underrepresented minorities," those individuals at these medical and dental schools and other entities, including those who deserved admission without the racial preference or "priority," will wear that badge.
Allan J. Favish is an attorney in Los Angeles. His website is allanfavish.com. He has co-authored with James Fernald a new book about what might happen if the government ran Disneyland entitled Fireworks! If the Government Ran the Fairest Kingdom of Them All (A Very Unauthorized Fantasy).