Health | Opinion

Margaret Moss: Options shrinking in the Indian Health Service





"Where is the outcry, outrage and outpouring for various tribes: with the highest levels of diabetes in the world; where a baby boy born today has an average life expectancy in the 40s; where death rates are more than double than for U.S. all races rates to age 44; where there is unprecedented violence against women; and where TB is alive and well at 850% the rate for U.S. all races (according to IHS Trends in Indian Health 2003)? One does not need to leave U.S. borders to find nations living in poverty, fear, sickness and desperation. And yet, they remain largely unfound.

Why does the picture look so bleak for certain tribes? There is a lack of comprehensive, accessible healthcare inclusive of the whole life span. There are the multitudinous disparities seen in the social determinants of health. And finally, U.S. policies over 200 hundred years have likely contributed to the health status of federally recognized tribe’ members and by ethnic Indians.

The Indian Health Service (IHS) is charged with providing health services for members of federally recognized tribes. They state on their ‘About Us’ page that, “The IHS provides a comprehensive health service delivery system for approximately 1.9 million American Indians and Alaska Natives who belong to 564 federally recognized tribes in 35 states.”"

Get the Story:
Margaret Moss: American Indian Health Disparities: Where’s the Moral Outrage? (Indian Country Today 11/8)