For The Washington Free Beacon, journalist Aaron Sibarium reports that a race-based medical rubric used by SSM Health “gave race more weight than diabetes, obesity, asthma, and hypertension combined” was recently abandoned after the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, a conservative legal nonprofit, threatened them with a lawsuit claiming that the medical policy was both “immoral” and “illegal.”
The now-defunct rubric is much more radical, prioritizing healthy minorities over white patients with many of the largest risk factors for COVID-19. A 49-year-old white woman with hypertension, obesity, diabetes, and asthma would only get 19 points under the rubric, just shy of the 20 point threshold for antibody therapy. But a 50-year-old black woman with no underlying health conditions would receive 22 points, making her eligible.
The policy was initially justified by the claim that "COVID-19 has had a disproportionate impact on low income communities and certain racial/ethnic minorities in the United States." However, these purported racial disparities vanished when new analyses included relevant variables like health comorbidities and class.
"Black race was not associated with higher in-hospital mortality than white race," an analysis in the New England Journal of Medicine concluded, "after adjustment for differences in sociodemographic and clinical characteristics on admission." A study of Maryland and District of Columbia hospitals likewise found no relationship between race and severe disease "after adjustment for clinical factors."