Biden Cabinet Agency Denies It Has ‘Anti-Racism’ Policies. Internal Documents Tell A Different Story

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Robert Schmad Contributor
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The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under President Joe Biden is integrating “anti-racism” into its operations, despite HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra denying the existence of anti-racist policies within his agency.

“I would challenge you to show me where in our policies we call anything we’re doing ‘anti-racism’ policies,” Becerra said in a 2022 House hearing, denying that his agency had any such policies on the books. HHS, however, has proposed altering policy to integrate anti-racism and discussed using the approach to modify healthcare practices under Becerra, according to internal communications and agency documents obtained by Protect the Public’s Trust (PPT) through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.

“At the very least, the American public should be able to expect that HHS leadership would be forthcoming with members of Congress about what the agency is doing,” PPT Director Michael Chamberlain told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “Apparently, however, that is a bridge too far but, unfortunately, not inconsistent with the behavior of the agency that heads the public health bureaucracy that has so thoroughly squandered the American public’s trust in recent years. The Secretary’s deflection and evasion provide further evidence that the mission of the current leadership has strayed far from the mission the public expects the agency to pursue.” (RELATED: Biden Admin Weighed Using ‘School Children’ To Help Register Dem-Leaning Voters, Emails Show)

In January 2022 the director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), a sub-agency of HHS, was scheduled to brief Becerra on the specifics of his agency’s “anti-racism and equity proposal,” according to a presentation obtained by PPT. The content of the slide going over the anti-racism plan, however, was redacted as the agency determined it was covered under a FOIA exemption for privileged communications.

“Systemic racism and other biases are built into healthcare delivery and, while healthcare alone will not be able to create health equity, health equity requires change in healthcare delivery,” an un-redacted section of the presentation reads. The presentation also identifies improving AHRQ’s handling of “anti-racism” and equity in healthcare as among its “potential areas for growth.”

Additionally, an undated document obtained by PPT shows an HHS proposal to “create and implement an anti-racism plan” to help the agency “address health equity.”

President Biden Meets With His Cancer Cabinet At The White House

U.S. first lady Jill Biden speaks alongside President Joe Biden and Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

HHS also recommended applicants be hired to high-ranking posts partly due to their affinity for anti-racism efforts.

The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE), for instance, in 2022 recommended that an individual named Jeff Olivet serve as the executive director of the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness in part because “his work on anti-racism will be particularly well-received in the field, and well-aligned with the Administration’s focus on equity,” according to documents obtained by PPT. Olivet’s resume touts his work on addressing racial inequities.

Olivet was ultimately hired as the executive director of the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness, according to his LinkedIn.

Another resume, this time belonging to a woman named Ana Mascarenas, was forwarded to an HHS official in March 2022 so they could set up a job interview, according to documents obtained by PPT. Mascarenas’ resume says she worked “to promote racial justice, environmental justice and anti-racism, internally and externally” while at the California Environmental Protection Agency.

Mascarenas, in October 2022, started a job at HHS, serving as a senior advisor for environmental justice, according to her LinkedIn.

HHS has recently made moves to alter its policies to dispel racial equities in healthcare, proposing a new model for organ transplant access in May that would seek to reduce racial disparities among recipients of organs.

“Factoring race into transplant policy may be inimical to the most basic medical value: ‘Do no harm,’” Chamberlain said in a press release. “Post-pandemic, HHS has a lot of work to do to regain the public’s trust. Certainly, obfuscating about what the department is and isn’t doing is not the way to go about it.”

HHS did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

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