indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+ indianz.com on soundcloud
phone: 202 630 8439
Fredericks Peebles & Morgan LLP
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines

printer friendly version
Democrats lay out plan for minority and Indian health
Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Accusing Republicans and the Bush administration of ignoring Native Americans, Congressional Democrats on Tuesday unveiled a legislative initiative to improve minority health care.

As part of a larger effort to highlight domestic issues, the Democrats said the Healthcare Equality and Accountability Act of 2003 will expand health coverage for minorities, address health disparities and ensure adequate funding for American Indians and Alaska Natives. "Our bill will make adequate funding for the Indian Health Service mandatory so that we can finally stop the shameful rationing of Indian health care," said Senator Minority Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota.

Daschle was joined by House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of California and Rep. Frank Pallone of New Jersey, the Democratic vice co-chair of the Congressional Native American Caucus. Both drew attention to the high rates of disease experienced by racial and ethnic minorities, and said those problems were linked to limited funding and resources.

"Because of minorities not being fully in the loop," said Pelosi, "African-Americans suffer from diabetes at a rate of 70 percent higher than White Americans and Native Americans suffer from it at three times the average rate."

"The disparities that exist between Native Americans and the general population are incredible," added Pallone, citing high death rates from disease including diabetes, pneumonia, tuberculosis and alcoholism.

The bill, to be introduced next week, will make funding for IHS an entitlement like Medicare or social security. Calling the levels of funding to IHS an "embarrassment," Pallone said this provision will ensure the federal government is meeting its trust responsibilities.

The legislation elevates the director of the IHS to an assistant secretary of health within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). "It's very important to prioritize that position," Pallone said. Tribal leaders and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) have been pushing elevation for several years.

These two goals are also contained in the recently introduced Indian Health Care Improvement Act, which is currently under debate in the House and Senate. The House Resources Committee and the Senate Indian Affairs Committee have held joint hearings to reauthorize several health programs. Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-Colo.), chairman of the Indian committee, has introduced a version of the bill in the Senate.

The entitlement provision draws attention to funding battles between Democrats and Republicans. Although members of both parties have voted to increase the IHS budget, which stands at about $3 billion, Democrats say their colleagues are backing away from specific pledges.

In September, Republicans in the Senate voted down two provisions to boost IHS funds. They cited a need to stay within federal budget rules and guidelines. Some were also concerned about shifting money away from the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

"Over the last five years, well over $1 billion in new money has been provided in order to improve health care within our Native American community," said Sen. Conrad Burns (R-Mont.) at the time. "Within the extremely limited resources . . . we've been responsive to the needs of the Native Americans."

According to statistics compiled by Daschle, the federal government spends $3,800 per prisoner on health care but only $1,900 for every Native American patient. In some areas, notably on the Navajo Nation, IHS spends a meager $800 per patient.

A study released by the Institute of Medicine called attention to the lagging health care of the nation's minorities. Other reports, including a recent one from the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, highlight funding disparities for Native Americans.

Related Stories:
Daschle: Improve Health Care in Indian Country (10/15)
Smoking rates among Natives highest in nation (10/10)
Senate votes down health and trust measures (09/24)
Drug use among Natives highest in nation (09/17)
Cancer rates on the decline in Indian Country (09/03)
Health studies show Indian Country disparities (08/01)
Diabetes rates explode in Indian Country (05/07)
CDC atlas documents disparity in stroke deaths (02/21)
Tribes told to explore health funding options (02/05)
Indian Country receives diabetes grants (12/11)
Congress approves $750M for Indian diabetes (11/21)
Northern Plains tribes see high infant death rate (10/30)
Americans, young and old, are getting fatter (10/09)
Elder care study shows worsening problems (07/11)
Report stresses importance of health insurance (5/22)
Poor Indian health blamed on federal failures (3/21)
CDC: Death rates at record lows, except Indians (10/11)
CDC: Indian mothers heaviest smokers (8/29)
Indian Country ranks high in deaths (6/27)
Cancer deaths increase in Indian Country (6/6)
CDC: HIV statistics point to new 'epidemic' (6/1)

Copyright � 2000-2003 Indianz.Com
More headlines...

Latest Headlines:

'Ominous shadow' of President Trump looms over annual meeting of tribal leaders
Senate narrowly approves budget resolution without taking up pro-tribal provisions
Native Sun News Today: Tribes decry court ruling favoring Dakota Access Pipeline
Ivan Star Comes Out: Only dictators demand for their citizens to 'respect the flag'
Decision day for National Congress of American Indians with leadership changes
House subcommittee takes up controversial American Indian Empowerment Act
Senate Committee on Indian Affairs schedules hearing on public safety measures
Arne Vainio: I wanted you to know you are loved and that I am bringing you home
Albert Bender: Native community celebrates Indigenous Peoples' Day in Nashville
Native Sun News Today: Student speaks out about racism in South Dakota school
James Giago Davies: School fumbles historic opportunity after incident of racism
Tribes open their doors in response to devastating wildfires in northern California
National Congress of American Indians looks ahead to Tara Sweeney confirmation
Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs sign agreement for Cobell buy-back program
Alaska Native executive Tara Sweeney named to top Bureau of Indian Affairs job
Tribes slam Trump administration for adding hurdles to land-into-trust process
Native Sun News Today: Native Americans are over-represented in county's jail
Tim Giago: Clones in Congress won't stand up to the Clown in the White House
Mark Trahant: Exploring the 'business' of news in Indian Country these days
Native Sun News Today: Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate debuts new grocery store
Bears Ears remains in limbo as Republicans leave tribes out of monument bill
Mark Trahant: Trump brings more chaos to health coverage for tribal citizens
YES! Magazine: Tribal hospital in Alaska brings traditional foods to patients
Native Sun News Today: Tribal leaders absent at border town liquor summit
Native Sun News Today Editorial: Teams continue to denigrate Indian people
Secretary Zinke requires special flag to be flown when he's in Interior building
Lawsuit seeks damages for death of girl at Bureau of Indian Education school
President of Northern Cheyenne Tribe remains in office after disputed removal
Republican candidate questions mural for depicting Indian people as too 'dark'
Bureau of Indian Affairs supports name change for 'Negro Bill Canyon' in Utah
Aroostook Band of Micmacs backs ballot referendum for new casino in Maine
Gun Lake Tribe secures strong local support in casino case except for one town
Second federal appeals court chimes in with decision favoring tribal homelands
Harold Frazier: Another incident of racism targets Native youth in South Dakota
Native American Voting Rights Coalition convenes second hearing in Wisconsin
Yurok Tribe welcomes introduction of bill to add important lands to reservation
YES! Magazine: Native family uses energy proceeds to benefit Indian Country
Native Sun News Today: Oglala Sioux Tribe refutes rumors of Black Hills 'sale'
James Giago Davies: A best friend sticks with us even at the very end of life
Cronkite News: Republicans quickly move bill to limit new national monuments
Raymond Hitchcock: Sorry but tribal casinos aren't linked to increases in crime
Osage Nation prepared to fight state over water rights on historic reservation
Eastern Cherokee council complete after second round of voting for one seat
Iowa Tribe announces 'Monsterous' deal linked to long-delayed poker website
Squaxin Island Tribe holds grand opening for remodeled hotel tower at casino
Judge deals tribes major setback with decision in Dakota Access Pipeline case
YES! Magazine: Winnemem Wintu Tribe struggles to bring salmon back home
Native Sun News Today: Rapid City turns out for Native American Day parade
Ivan Star Comes Out: Our teachers shouldn't be doing the jobs of the parents
Non-Indian parents file lawsuit to halt transfer of child custody cases to tribes
County in Oregon holds public hearing on name of 'Dead Indian Memorial Road'
Swinomish Tribe set to open substance abuse treatment center in Washington
All-Native band Warpath from California mixes heavy metal with tribal elements
Ramapough Lunaape Nation defends right to host prayer camp in New Jersey
Chehalis Tribe working with local authorities on fatal shooting outside casino
>>> more headlines...

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Federal Register | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.