Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and seven other congressmen are protesting what they call the "watering down" of a recent federal report on racial disparities in healthcare. The report, released in December, outlined differences in healthcare received by minorities and whites. In a letter to HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson, the congressmen complained that the report's executive summary was revised to downplay the differences and their consequences. For example, the draft summary said minorities receive less care and lower quality of care than whites, and called the gap a "national problem." The final summary omitted the reference to a "national problem," included success stories as well as disparities, and discussed how socioeconomic status and geography affect outcomes. A Thompson spokesman defended the administration, saying the same data was used in both versions of the summary and that Thompson has made eliminating racial disparities in healthcare one of his top priorities. Further discussion of the matter is available on a Waxman-sponsored Web site critical of the Bush administration's record in science. -- by Tony Fong
HHS knocked for changes to race-disparities report
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