MAY 29, 2014
It’s not enough that the Obama administration has already spent colossal amounts of taxpayer dollars on race-based health initiatives, now $105 million will go to a new project called Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH).
The acronym is packed with meaning because the goal, after all, is to put quality healthcare within reach for minorities in an effort to give them the same services as whites. The administration has already dedicated tens of millions of dollars to various initiatives that are expected to help accomplish this, including opening dozens of “health equity” offices to end disparities between poor minorities and whites and launching a $100 million project to lower chronic diseases “disproportionately seen among poor and minority populations.”
In 2012, the government even launched a minority asthma task force to act as a “coordinated federal action plan to reduce racial and ethnic asthma disparities.” The disease disproportionately affects minority children and kids living below the poverty level, according to the Obama administration. In fact, poor and minority children are more likely to have asthma and their health outcomes are worse, according to the new task force. Specifically, asthma rates for African-American and Puerto Rican kids are more than double the rate of Caucasian children. Nothing several million dollars can’t help correct.
Another chunk of change has gone to other government programs aimed at eliminating disparities, including half a dozen federal Offices of Minority Health as well as one for each state. The offices will single out and eliminate healthcare inequalities between ethnic minorities and their more affluent and educated white counterparts. The administration has also spent hefty sums to create an innovative state obesity map that shows blacks, the poor and uneducated are disproportionately obese and a special mobile device application to help underserved and minority women fight and prevent cancer. The app is actually available in “different languages and in culturally appropriate contexts.”
Last year’s race-based project du jour was a $40 million program to lower “stroke risk among racial and ethnic minorities in the United States.” To justify all this, the government even added a new section on socioeconomic status in the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) annual comprehensive report on Americans’ health. It reveals that practically all ailments, from mental disorders to asthma, cancer and edentulism (lack of natural teeth), are more prevalent among minorities and the poor. Even childhood attention deficit disorder hits low-income minorities harder, according the federal assessment.
The new $105 million REACH will target “priority population groups,” according to the federal grant announcement. This is defined as “African American/Black” and “Hispanic/Latino” among others. The goal is to empower community members in priority population groups to seek better health, help change local healthcare practices and, of course, reduce health disparities. “Despite significant progress in reducing and eliminating racial and ethnic health disparities over the past decades, disparities continue to persist and are widening for some population groups,” according to the lengthy grant document. It goes on to say that virtually every chronic disease—including obesity—strikes ethnic minorities at much higher rates than whites.
These “racial and ethnic health disparities” are attributed to “poverty lack of education, property neglect, tobacco use and exposure, physical inactivity, poor nutrition, and lack of access to quality health care services,” the federal document says. Here’s how the $105 million investment will change all this; by, among other things, creating a media program that communicates effective public health programs and conveys success to key audiences; increasing the number of settings that have a 100% smoke-free policy; increasing the number of people that have access to physical activity opportunities in work places; and increasing the availability of healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables.
The list of brilliant ideas that will be funded with this latest allocation goes on and is way too long to include in its entirety. What is worth mentioning, however, is that the healthy foods plan is already a totally separate boondoggle that’s costing taxpayers an additional $4.5 billion. It was masterminded by First Lady Michelle Obama and it aims to revolutionize the inner city diet by eradicating so-called “food deserts” with government-subsidized fruits, vegetables and other healthy fare.
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