Just hours after being inaugurated, President Biden signed an executive order commanding the federal government to make racial equity a top priority. Given the stark disparities that continue to plague communities of color—especially when it comes to America’s health care system—this was a welcome first step by the administration.
While the administration’s commitment to health equity is encouraging, regulations from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) that were implemented on Jan. 1 seem to contradict this promise just a year after it was made. Despite underserved communities still facing access barriers to health care providers, Medicare slashed funding for specialty care services by upwards of 20 percent. If left in place, these severe cuts will lead to significantly worse health outcomes for Black, Hispanic, and Native Americans—including an increase easily preventable limb amputation.