DeSantis strikes again: Don't say healthcare "equity"

AP Photo/Chris O'Meara

I am starting to believe chasing Ron DeSantis the Nazi Bogeyman is the only thing keeping the Miami Herald alive right now.

Do they even write about anything else? Woof – you’d be hard-pressed to find something.


The Herald DeSantis outrage du jour on the blackboard is:

He vaporized healthcare equity

Healthcare ‘equity’ was a Florida priority until the DeSantis administration erased it

And, yes, you read that correctly.

In 2017, when Florida Department of Health officials crafted their once-every-five-years list of state health goals, they published what was then a noncontroversial top priority: improving health equity.

The state sought to home in on “avoidable inequalities, historical and contemporary injustices, and the elimination of health and health care disparities.” Improving health equity “provides the foundation for success in all the other health-issue priorities,” the 2017 report read.

By last year, when the deck needed to be reshuffled, there was a new governor and state surgeon general, and, well, priorities shifted. To the Herald’s unending horror, some old favorites moved down the list, while others?

Were left off completely.

Ron DeSantis (and his ee-ville henchman, that Ladapo guy, who everyone also loves to hate) had single-handedly wiped the all-important, sacred, and most holy ruling metric of “equity” from the listed goals of Florida state healthcare system.

…Instead, the No. 1 priority area had to do with fighting Alzheimer’s disease. The sixth priority area mentioned “social and economic conditions impacting health,” but did not include any mention of race or ethnicity. Although the 22-page state health improvement plan lists correcting certain race-specific health outcomes as goals, the document makes no mention of “equity.”


Oh. My. GAWD. You can almost visualize them writhing on the floor: kicking their tiny feet in a furious tantrum, chapped, beet red cheeks, diminutive fists waving, and high-pitched keening rending the air. *scree scree scree*

And ALZHEIMER’S?! Numero uno?! Replacing equity? How is such an abomination possible in a civilized world? Fascists, etc., etc.

Interesting fact about the Alzheimer’s thing, though, is who it affects most. Maybe that tricksy governor and his Harvard grad doctor sidekick are up to something…

Maybe, just maybe, they’re more interested in health outcome than woke jargon.

…In an interview, Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo said the term “health equity” has taken on a political meaning that is unhelpful in addressing important health issues related to race or ethnicity.

“It’s an imprecise term,” said Ladapo, who leads the Department of Health. “It’s a term that really has grown to have more of a political meaning than a meaning related to health. But it’s the State Health Improvement Plan. So we will focus on health.”

And the Herald sure takes its time getting to the meat of this de-equitized plan. Which, once you read more about it, sure looks like well-thought-out health goals for the entire state. Meaning “everybody.”


Now, this really wasn’t very sporting of them. Odd how they saved these two paragraphs for the 3d and 2d to last of the entire piece – literally buried at the bottom.

…The DeSantis administration’s State Health Improvement Plan includes objectives to correct a few specific disparities. By 2026, the state aims to “reduce the percentage of late-stage breast cancer diagnoses among Black women from 43% (2018) to 30%.” There’s a similar goal for reducing prostate cancer diagnoses among Black men, and for cutting the Black pregnancy and infant mortality rates.

In 2021, lawmakers unanimously passed — and DeSantis signed — a bill creating the Office of Minority Health. That bill mandated that each Florida county have a minority health liaison. Each Florida county department of health also has a Health Equity Plan.

Well, Heavens to Murgatroyd! After a whole long screed, this is what you end with?


Then again, most people wouldn’t read to the end, ergo the Herald is getting exactly the reaction they want from their target audience.


Everyone gets riled up without engaging the first brain cell, and voilà. Check this crap out.


Here we go, and what a hoot. The Florida chapter of the NAACP is asking for the national group to issue a travel warning and banging around a boycott.

Florida NAACP calls for travel advisory amid political tensions
Legislators are considering proposals that target funding for diversity initiatives among others.

The NAACP Florida Chapter wants its national board to ask people not to visit or move to the Sunshine State in light of recent proposals targeting diversity and racial issues.

At the organization’s state conference on Saturday in Orlando, members proposed asking the national board to issue a travel advisory — especially for people of color.

When the vote came back unanimously, Hillsborough County NAACP President Yvette Lewis said she felt relief.

“We are an organization that protects people’s civil rights, and this is a first step to doing that,” Lewis said. “People are seeing what’s happening in Florida. They’re paying attention, and I hope that help is coming.

Good luck with that.


Though the Miami Herald and its readers have to be over the moon, right?

Yeah. You’ll sure show us.

And you’ve got it backward, NAACP Yvette. People do most certainly see what’s happening in Florida. They do pay attention, but it’s not “help” that’s coming.

Once people have seen what’s happening in Florida, they’re what’s coming.

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David Strom 6:40 PM | April 18, 2024