Sen. Dorgan: Indian health care an embarrassment
"Why is Native health care not simply an indistinguishable component of the overall health care system? Because our country has an affirmative trust obligation toward American Indians. That obligation is grounded in numerous treaties and, more generally, in the moral responsibility for the negative impact over generations of changing federal policies.

The great Chief Justice John Marshall, in the 1831 decision of Cherokee Nation v. Georgia, recognized that the United States had a unique trustee relationship toward Indian tribes.

Statistics highlight the desperate condition of American Indian health care. Compared to the U.S. population as a whole, Natives have a 600 percent higher incidence of tuberculosis, a 189 percent higher incidence of diabetes and a 510 percent higher incidence of alcoholism. Suicides on reservations in the northern Great Plains are 10 times higher than the national average.

To improve the performance of the United States as trustee for the health care of American Indians, more funding and continuous innovation are needed. For 2005, the per capita federal health expenditure by the IHS was $2,130. By the way, that's about one-half the per capita spending for federal prisoners' health care, and it was far below the estimated per capita benchmarks of Medicare at $6,784 and the Veterans Administration at $4,653. It means we have full-scale ''health care rationing'' for American Indians, and it has to stop. We need to meet our obligations."

Get the Story:
Dorgan: American Indian health care a national embarrassment (Indian Country Today 12/7)

House Energy and Commerce Committee Documents:
Summary | Manager's Amendment | Press Release | Webcast

Indian Health Care Improvement Act Amendments:
S.1200 | H.R.1328

Relevant Documents:
Letter to President Bush | Letter to Alberto Gonzales | DOJ White Paper

Relevant Links:
Indian Health Service - http://www.ihs.gov
National Indian Health Board - http://www.nihb.org

Related Stories:
Arizona rebuffed on Indian health care costs (12/4)
House subcommittee approves Indian health care bill (11/08)
IHCIA delayed but could come up next week (10/26)
Long-delayed IHCIA set for vote in Senate (10/22)
Indian health care leaders win prestigious award (10/04)
Indian Country rallies for health care in U.S. Capitol (09/13)
Indian health care markup, rally in Washington (9/12)
Senate markup on Indian Health Care Act (9/10)
IHCIA pushed as Congress returns from break (9/5)
Rally for Indian health set in DC for September 12 (9/4)
Wild horses get more money than IHS hospital (08/16)
Senate field hearing on Indian health in Montana (8/15)
Senate field hearing on health this Wednesday (8/13)
IHCIA reauthorization exchange on Senate floor (8/2)
Editorial: Indian health care a trust responsibility (7/31)
IHS suffers from long waits, inadequate funding (7/30)
White House changed testimony on trust (7/27)
IHS slow to resolve problems under Grim (7/26)
Senate confirmation hearing for Dr. Grim of IHS (7/26)
Pill 'epidemic' strikes reservations in Montana (7/23)
Senate Indian Affairs Committee renews focus (7/20)
Direct Service Tribes discuss IHS in Denver (06/27)
Emergency room at IHS facility fails inspection (05/09)
Indian Health Care Act introduced in Senate (05/02)
California tribes seek bigger share of health funding (5/1)
Belcourt: Indian Country takes path of healthy living (4/30)
House committee approves Indian health care bill (4/26)
Montana and Wyoming tribes host health conference (04/06)
Montana lawmaker presses for health care funding (4/5)
Opinion: U.S. failing to provide Indian health care (3/22)
Kara Briggs: The fight to reauthorize IHCIA (3/21)
Urban Indians hurt by IHS policy in Montana (3/20)
Health care push continues at House hearing (3/19)
DOJ's Indian white paper a political whodunit (3/14)
House hearing on Indian Health Care Improvement (3/14)
Urban Indians under attack over health care (3/12)
Fireworks at Indian health care hearing (3/9)
Senate hearing on Indian Health reauthorization (3/8)
Urban Indians in New Mexico feel left out on health (3/8)
Some urban Indians denied care at request of IHS (3/8)
Indian Health Care Act introduced in House (3/7)
Hearings on Indian Health Care Improvement Act (3/5)
Democrats promise action at USET conference (2/14)
Harjo: GOP calls Indian health care 'race-based' (2/12)
Tribes forced to ration funds for health services (2/2)
Interview: Inadequate health care in Indian Country (01/16)
Joint hearing on Indian health care act postponed (11/14)
Final push for health care bill in 109th Congress (11/13)
White House hit over delays in health care and Cobell (10/05)
Still no Indian Health Care Improvement Act (09/22)
New Standard: U.S. failing to deliver health care (7/18)
Senate panel advances Indian health care measure (10/28)
Senate committee takes up slate of Indian bills (10/27)
Hearing on Indian Health Care Improvement Act (07/13)
Oklahoma senator loses Indian health care vote (06/29)