I’m sorry about the rambling headline, but I couldn’t find a short way to summarize just how bad this is.
It is fair to say that we can confidently add the AMA to the ABA and the ACLU as organizations that have decided to abandon their organizational missions to join the ideological assault on the United States, its values, and what our society once agreed upon as democratic and pluralistic priorities. “Advancing Health Equity: A Guide to Language, Narrative and Concepts,” recently approved and released and reading like a high school Junior Marxist Club manifesto, officially injects far Left cant into medical practice, where it does not belong and never has. Doctors are professionals, and as such have a duty to serve the public good using their special skills and knowledge. Being a doctor of medicine, we have learned, imbues one with no special policy expertise, historical perspective of political acumen whatsoever. Consider, just as a sampling, former Senator Bill Frist, Howard Dean, Ben Carson, Rand Paul (most of the time , fortunately retired Virginia Governor Ralph Northam , and, of course, Dr. Fauci.
This monstrosity quickly attracted sharp criticism from Conor Friedersdorf, Alex Tabarrok, and substacker Matthew Yglesias among of the growing but nowhere near large enough group of progressive pundits and journalists who have become alienated by the progressive movement’s turn to nascent totalitarianism. Tabarrok pointed out the obvious that “politicizing medicine is dangerous.” Friedersdorf fingered the trust issue (professionals must be trusted), writing “It’s already hard enough to get my conservative grandfather to heed his doctors about how best to care for a bad back worn down from decades in construction.” Yglesias concentrated on the mission creep issue, writing in part,
The policy perspective the AMA is urging its members to take up is just weirdly distant from the organization’s own work [and] the quality of the policy analysis on display here is simply very poor.
The document is also hypocritical. Yglesias makes it clear that the AMA is mostly virtue-signaling, going full woke while simultaneously ignoring the profession’s own policies that make it more expensive and less convenient for all the oppressed people it purports to care about to get needed treatment. He writes,
…[D]octors are perennially in such short supply in the United States, they can afford to be extremely choosy about their assignments. You never have a down-on-his-luck doctor looking for work and realizing that there’s demand for medical care in poor neighborhoods or rural communities.
Even more subtly, because doctors are scarce, they can afford to treat their patients relatively poorly. Doctors’ offices normally keep business hours that are convenient for the doctor, rather than convenient for patients. And while you’ll lose your appointment if you’re running late, the doctor runs late all the time — it’s more cost-effective for him to run a schedule with zero padding, so you just need to wait if things go wrong. As a person who is persnickety about schedules and punctuality, this has frequently annoyed me, but I’ve always had very flexible jobs. For people with jobs that require them to be in specific places at specific times, scheduling hassles are a big deal. More medical abundance would mean not just lower costs, but potentially much greater convenience.
There are lots of ways to increase medical abundance, but unfortunately, the AMA is normally standing in the way — blocking increased scope of practice for nurses, making it hard for foreign-trained doctors to practice in the United States, and historically pushing to train too few doctors here at home.
All true, but I find it more ethically ominous that another influential organization is prescribing NewSpeak as a way to constrict freedom of thought and drive public perceptions into the rigid boxes the Left seeks to construct to keep them within their control. Remember, this is the American Medical Association issuing this Marxist jargon:
The field of equity, like all other scholarly domains, has developed specific norms that convey authenticity, precision and meaning. Just as the general structure of a business document varies from that of a physics document, so too is the case with an equity document. One example is the inclusion of a “Land and Labor Acknowledgement” like the one below. It is common that discussions in the field of equity begin with the recognition that our current state is built on the land and labor of others in ways that violated the
fundamental principles of equity. We acknowledge their ancestors were forced out by colonization, genocide, disease and war [and] the extraction of brilliance, energy and life for labor forced upon millions of people of African descent for more than 400 years…. Their land, labor, bodies and minds—and those from other historically marginalized people and groups over
the course of our nation’s history—have contributed to the wealth of this nation.
The AMA mourn[s] the loss of life and liberty of millions of others who have
historically been oppressed, exploited, excluded, segregated, experimented upon and dehumanized in the U.S. over centuries, and acknowledges their historical trauma and the long-lasting impact this has had on them as an individual, their families and their communities…[T]he goal of health equity… cannot be achieved without explicit recognition and reconciliation of our
country’s twin, fundamental injustices of genocide and forced labor…
Then we get to the linguistic strait-jacket, Big Bother’s specialty, and increasingly the modus operandi of the Left. For example, we are reminded to
1. Avoid use of adjectives such as “vulnerable” and “high-risk.”
2. Avoid dehumanizing language. Use person-first language instead.
3. Remember that there are many types of subpopulations.
4. Avoid saying “target,” “tackle,” “combat” or other terms with violent connotation when referring to people, groups or communities.
5. Avoid unintentional blaming.
And we get a handy-dandy speech guide, telling doctors that instead of “marginalized communities,” they should refer to “groups that have been economically / socially marginalized.” “Disparities” is out, “inequities” is in. Naturally “ex-cons” and other terms that suggest that convicted criminals have some behavioral and legal blind-spots that led to their prison terms, “formerly incarcerated” is GoodSpeak. “Enslaved people” good, “slaves” bad.
Do enough doctors have the integrity to stand up to this professional shark-jumping exercise, or do medical professionals see it as just a necessary pandering exercise to keep the money flowing?