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UnitedHealth Group, the nation's largest health insurance company, will begin matching patients with doctors based on their race.
According to UHC, matching patients with doctors of the same race will result in improved clinical outcomes, since same race physicians "often possess deeper knowledge of social determinants affecting their patients."
During a presentation in December, UHC said Black doctors "often understand African American patients' predisposition for colon cancer and pregnancy issues."
It isn't clear who biracial and mixed-race people will be matched with.
The insurance company said matching patients with doctors of the same race will bring down insurance costs and "lead to increased access to care and preventible health measures."
"Consumers would like to establish relationships with physicians who they are comfortable with -physicians of similar backgrounds, life experience, etc," read one slide in the presentation.
Another slide reads: "Clinical evidence shows that consumers benefit from having physicians of same race for diagnosis and treatment of frequently occurring medical conditions."
UHC will begin encouraging doctors to add racial information to their in-network directory profiles to help potential patients choose them based on skin color.
According to the company website, UHC takes pride in providing a culture of inclusiveness and diversity among its 125,000 clinicians.
While some Black doctors expressed optimism in the new initiative, some white doctors were offended.
"I don't like it because my race has nothing to do with my abilities," wrote one Caucasian doctor in a "2020 UHC Directory Survey" of doctors.
Another wrote: "This is an invasion of privacy and has no place in a professional setting."
And a third white doctor wrote: "I would refuse."
68 percent of doctors surveyed said they were willing to share their race in a physician directory.
The Centers for Disease Control has issued guidance to every state to prioritize ethnic minorities -- specifically Black males -- as a "vulnerable community" when it comes to vaccine distribution.
As a result, half of the country's states are now prioritizing Black, Hispanic, and Native American residents over white people for vaccine distribution.
25 states, including Georgia, Florida, Texas, Mississippi, Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia have all committed to allow Blacks and Hispanics to jump the line for vaccinations.
Additionally, Louisiana, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, and Indiana have declared "fairness" or "equity" as determining factors in prioritizing minority and "historically marginalized populations" over whites for vaccinations, even if not specifically designating minorities by name.
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The CDC guidance is predicated on recommendations from Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates and his wife Melinda Gates, who have no medical degrees. Both have been involved in funding vaccine development and have been lobbying since June for ethnic minorities to be second in line behind healthcare workers for the mRNA vaccinations.
Melinda Gates specifically urged prioritizing Black men for the mRNA vaccinations.
"We are seeing black men die at a disproportionate rate," Gates said in an interview with Time magazine. "We know the way out of COVID-19 will be a vaccine, and it needs to go out equitably."
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A week after NBC News announced it was capitalizing the 'B' when referring to Black people, CNN announced it would also capitalize the 'B' in reference to Black people and capitalize the 'W' for whites.
CNN announced its decision after viewers called them out for referring to Black people with a lower case 'b' on their website.
"When referring to the racial categories of Black and White, CNN style is changing to capitalizing both words," wrote Tim Langmaid, vice president and senior editorial director, in an evening email to staffers.
"Both words denote a racial or ethnic identity and therefore should be upper case when referring to a person, community, culture, etc., in the same way CNN capitalizes other descriptors of race, ethnicity and shared identity, including African American, Native American, Hispanic or Latino, Asian, Asian American, African, and other terms," he explained.
Blogs such as Sandrarose.com have always capitalized the 'B', but mainstream news outlets began adjusting their reporting style amid racial tensions following the deaths of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Breonna Taylor in Louisville, and Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta, at the hands of police.
NBC News on Friday announced it was capitalizing the 'B' when referring to Black people across all of the networks' platforms.
NBC News is adjusting its reporting style amid racial tensions following the death of George Floyd in Minnesota.
Floyd, 46, died when a white officer knelt on his neck for nearly 9 minutes. His brutal death sparked protests across the country.
NBC joins BuzzFeed News, MSNBC, the LA Times, and USA Today who changed their style guides to capitalize "Black" when referring to Black people.
Capitalizing the 'B' for Black people has been debated by Black scholars over the years, but the debate was never taken seriously by the mainstream media.
Lori L. Tharps, of Temple University, made the case that "when speaking of a culture, ethnicity or group of people, the name should be capitalized."
In 2015, Tharps wrote an op-ed for The New York Times: "The Case for Black with a Capital B."
The Huffington Post wrote:
"I congratulate her for opening a conversation that is long overdue, a conversation that goes to the heart of how a large group of Americans with the most difficult of histories has struggled to express itself and gain greater agency in American society."