Anti-racism plan violates Medicare law, 8 states allege in lawsuit

Eight states are asking a federal judge in Mississippi to throw out a CMS rule encouraging the formation of physician anti-racism plans, arguing the rule violates a Medicare reimbursement law. 

CMS released a final rule in 2021 that reimburses physicians more if they create anti-racism plans. The lawsuit alleges that the plans must include a clinic wide review of a doctor's commitment to anti-racism "based on a definition of race as a political and social construct, not a physiological one." 

The lawsuit was filed May 5 by two physicians–from Mississippi and Kentucky–who have declined to submit anti-racism plans, along with Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi and Montana. 

The lawsuit alleges that the rule "elevates race over medical treatment," by encouraging physicians to make time-consuming plans instead of focusing on patient care and well-being. The rule violates the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015, which encourages doctors to keep costs down while maintaining the best quality care, according to the suit.

The physicians said in the lawsuit that their refusal to submit anti-racism plans puts them at a financial disadvantage to their competitors who submit plans. 

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