Mona Charen

This, along with other provisions, is broad enough to cover every medical, nursing, dental school and teaching hospital in the country and guarantees the institutionalization of racial, sex, and ethnic quotas in perpetuity (though the use of the word "underrepresented" before "minority" ensures that the quotas will not apply to Asians or Jews).

The rationale for quotas, insofar as there is one, is that African-Americans and Hispanics have, on average, poorer health than other groups. Liberals assume that these disparities are the result of discrimination or lack of access to health care rather than other factors like poverty, eating habits, heredity, and fitness. If medical and dental schools are required to admit more minority applicants, newly minted minority professionals will tend to those "underserved" populations.

Of course, medical and dental schools have been practicing affirmative action for decades, but they've had trouble recruiting large numbers of minorities. Part of the problem is that African-Americans do not tend to gravitate to math and science (the solution to which is to be found in families and schools). Still, for the past few decades, less-qualified minorities have been offered spots in medical schools, with the result that: 1) Those minority professionals who would have qualified without affirmative action bear a stigma, and 2) less-qualified minorities fail licensing exams at much higher rates than their classmates. Is it a service to the African-American or Hispanic communities to provide physicians and dentists who are less capable than others? Will it improve health outcomes to be treated by less-qualified professionals?

President Obama asked this week whether anyone could oppose "holding insurance companies accountable," and "bringing down costs for everyone." Funny, he doesn't ask whether we object to this: a provision on "maintaining, collecting and presenting federal data on race and ethnicity," in order to "facilitate and coordinate identification and monitoring ... of health disparities to inform program and policy efforts to reduce such disparities." That's an engraved invitation to social engineering.

But then, even to mention it is probably contributing to the "fog of controversy."

Mona Charen

Mona Charen is a syndicated columnist, political analyst and author of Do-Gooders: How Liberals Hurt Those They Claim to Help .
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