Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona called on the Department of Health and Human Services on Tuesday to “immediately rescind” guidance indicating that race and ethnicity should be prioritized in providing COVID-19 treatments.
The Republican congressman’s letter follows Food and Drug Administration guidance repeatedly stating that “race or ethnicity” are medical conditions or factors that may place patients at higher risk for “progression to severe COVID-19.”
“This is discrimination plain and simple,” Biggs said in a statement to The Daily Signal. “The Biden administration cannot use race and ethnicity as a factor in how COVID-19 treatments are distributed.”
“Distributing treatments based on a person’s medical need—not the color of one’s skin—shouldn’t be a controversial opinion,” he added. “But we’re living in [President Joe] Biden’s world; where everything is focused on dividing us as a nation instead of uniting all Americans.”
The congressman’s letter is directed to Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra and acting Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Janet Woodcock. The FDA is part of HHS.
“While societal conditions can influence an individual’s underlying health conditions, there is no evidence that suggests that people of color have genetic or other biological factors that make them more likely to be affected by COVID-19,” Biggs wrote.
“To suggest to healthcare providers that race and ethnicity should be a factor in determining eligibility for COVID-19 treatments is blatantly discriminatory and contrary to accepted science,” he added.
The Arizona Republican noted that some states, including Utah, New York, and Minnesota, have already followed the Biden administration’s “discriminatory” guidance related to race and the coronavirus pandemic.
“The guidance issued by New York, Utah, and Minnesota are entirely misguided and appear to be a direct reaction to FDA’s guidance indicating that race and ethnicity should be a consideration in allocating COVID-19 treatments,” Biggs said in the letter to the Department of Health and Human Services.
“As I mentioned earlier,” he continued, “there is absolutely no science that suggests that racial minorities possess a genetic or biological factor that makes them more susceptible to severe cases of COVID-19. Any guidance published by [the] FDA that emphasizes race as an important factor to consider in distributing COVID-19 treatments lacks scientific merit and must be withdrawn.”
After the law firm America First Legal demanded that the three states rescind their policies or face legal action, Minnesota’s health department updated its guidance and removed race as a preferential factor.
The firm, formed by officials from President Donald Trump’s administration, sued the New York State Department of Health on Monday for its “racist and unconstitutional directive that instructs health-care providers to ration life-saving medical treatments for COVID-19 based on the race of the patient.”
“New York’s racist COVID decrees dispense lifesaving medicine based on the race or ethnic background of the patient,” America First Legal President Stephen Miller said in a statement. “New York is deciding questions of life and death based on a New Yorker’s ancestry. This is outrageously illegal, unconstitutional, immoral, and tyrannical.”
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