Utah, Minnesota back down on race-based COVID care as New York faces lawsuit

Conservatives are challenging policies that allow doctors to consider race as a factor when allocating COVID treatments, and some states are dropping them.

News, Race

1/24/2022 1:45:00 AM

Conservatives are challenging policies that allow doctors to consider race as a factor when allocating COVID treatments, and some states are dropping them.

Conservatives are challenging policies that allow doctors to consider race as a factor when allocating COVID treatments, and some states are dropping them.

In aJanuary 17 statementannouncing the filing of the lawsuit, America First Legal President Stephen Miller said:"New York's racist COVID decrees dispense lifesaving medicine based on the race or ethnic background of the patient. New York is deciding questions of life and death based on a New Yorker's ancestry. This is outrageously illegal, unconstitutional, immoral, and tyrannical."

Erin Silk, a spokesperson for the New York State Department of Health, toldNewsweekthe department couldn't comment on the pending litigation. But she noted that the"health-based risk factors" the department has advised providers to consider when providing COVID treatments"are neither qualifications, nor requirements for treatments."

Read more: Newsweek »

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), people of color in the U.S. face higher rates of COVID hospitalization and death than white people. In a January 17 statement announcing the filing of the lawsuit, America First Legal President Stephen Miller said:"New York's racist COVID decrees dispense lifesaving medicine based on the race or ethnic background of the patient. New York is deciding questions of life and death based on a New Yorker's ancestry. This is outrageously illegal, unconstitutional, immoral, and tyrannical." Erin Silk, a spokesperson for the New York State Department of Health, told Newsweek the department couldn't comment on the pending litigation. But she noted that the"health-based risk factors" the department has advised providers to consider when providing COVID treatments"are neither qualifications, nor requirements for treatments." The guidance related to race, she said"is based on CDC guidelines that show COVID-19 mortality rates are higher among certain demographic groups, including senior citizens, immunocompromised individuals and non-white/Hispanic communities." "It is important to note that no one in New York who is otherwise qualified based on their individual risk factors will be turned away from life-saving treatment because of their race or any demographic identifier," Silk wrote in an email. On January 12, health officials in Minnesota removed race as a factor that medical professionals could use to determine which COVID patients can receive limited monoclonal antibody treatments. According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the policy shift occurred the same day that America First Legal threatened to sue Utah and Minnesota. As conservatives challenge policies that have allowed medical professionals to weigh race as a factor when allocating scarce COVID-19 treatments, some states are dropping them. Above, medical workers treat a COVID patient in Hartford, Connecticut, on January 18. Joseph Prezioso