Master of Jurisprudence in Indian Law - University of Tulsa College of Law
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Health | Opinion
Mark Trahant: Health care reform brings more jobs to IHS


"This is simple math: Health care equals jobs. And the new health care reform law means even more jobs. In many communities across the United States, the health care industry is the region’s top employer. Indeed, if you put this in a global perspective, the National Health Service in the United Kingdom now employs 1 in every 23 workers in that country, some 1.3 million people. (The NHS is the third largest employer in the world, only ranking behind the Chinese army and India Rail.)

The numbers in Indian Country show that same kind of growth. Look at the figures before President Johnson’s Great Society (and the expansion of federal programs): The Bureau of Indian Affairs employed 16,035 full time employees in 1969, while the Indian Health Service employed 5,740 people. That trend is now reversed. In 2009 the BIA employed 8,257 full time workers and the IHS had grown to 15,127 employees. These are just the number of federal employees, because tribes or organizations administer roughly half of the Indian health system.

The demand for health care workers in Indian Country represents a public policy paradox: We need jobs in communities where the official unemployment rate is about 50 percent and yet the Indian Health Service reports shortages of health professionals."

Get the Story:
Simple math: Health Care Reform = Jobs (Mark Trahant 4/26)

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