During the healthcare debate, I wondered whether if the government ever got enough power, it would try to close health care related gaps between whites and minorities. Just as we supposedly can’t tolerate school achievement disparities, Washington would eventually use statistical analysis to decide that whites were similarly advantaged in the kind of medical treatment they received relative to others. And just as how conservatives may oppose more education spending in general but not “gap closing” schemes, they would be silent about all this despite having originally fought tooth and nail against the original government take over of medicine.
I expected all this to happen, but not so soon.
NEW YORK - Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Wednesday that she is developing a national plan of action that would focus for the first time on reducing health care disparities between minority and white populations.
HHS has been writing reports for 25 years documenting the gap in health care services between white and minority communities, but there never has been an action plan to address the gap, she said in an address to the National Action Network convention.
"I'm here to say that's going to end this year," Sebelius said.
In other words, the federal government has been collecting data for 25 years, rubbing its hands together in anticipation that one day they would be able to “do something” about healthcare disparities between NAMs and whites. Here, now, is their chance.
When “reducing gaps” and general welfare together rather than general welfare alone become the goal of government, then every question gets seen through the lens of “how can we make X do as well as Y?” instead of simply “how do we help P?” when P is a population that includes X and Y. That means that with this new paradigm, the concept of population Y doing too well enters into any equation.
If, say, the elderly are disproportionately white, Washington may go and decide that taking money away from programs helping older Americans to fund health clinics in inner-city neighborhoods would contribute to reducing healthcare gaps. Both the advantage accrued to blacks and the reduced life expectancy for whites would be seen as pluses.
What’s interesting about gapology is the phrasing. Government could just as easily say that they were simply going to help blacks and Mexicans. Why talk about a "gap," which implies that the goal is for equalizing populations whether by making minorities do better, making whites do worse, or some combination of both? This is a rare instance of liberals phrasing something in the worst possible way, a sort of anti-euphemism. They are explicitly acknowledging that for the situation of their favored races to improve, it may be necessary, albeit regrettable, for whites to end up worse off than they would be otherwise. The reason that they don’t have to defend these declarations of race war to the electorate is that making these logical inferences smacks too much of “racism” to the conservative mind.