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
Dynamic Homes
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...
Fired police officer won't go to trial for death of Native man until next year
The Native community is demanding justice for the death of Zachary Bearheels at the hands of police officers in Omaha, Nebraska.

Native Sun News Today: Spotted Eagle promises 'Faith, Hope and Leadership'
Native Sun News Today: Spotted Eagle promises 'Faith, Hope and Leadership'
A strong sense of place dictates Faith Spotted Eagle's priorities as she seeks public office in South Dakota.

Elizabeth Cook-Lynn: An Indian man walks into court and asks a judge to do the right thing
Elizabeth Cook-Lynn: An Indian man walks into court and asks a judge to do the right thing
It was an astonishing day for Chase Iron Eyes as he went before a white-man judge in North Dakota.

YES! Magazine: Native language schools are taking back education for their people
YES! Magazine: Native language schools are taking back education for their people
The last fluent speakers of Wôpanâak passed away more than a century ago. A school is working to revive the language.

Jaclyn Lanae: Another Earth Day is upon us. Here's how you can get involved
Jaclyn Lanae: Another Earth Day is upon us. Here's how you can get involved
There are many reasons to gather together around a single idea, a particular cause but Earth Day is perhaps the single most important cause.

James Giago Davies: A dozen Lakota drivers race into action at the Speedway
James Giago Davies: A dozen Lakota drivers race into action at the Speedway
Folks in Lakota country would be surprised at the number of Native drivers that make up the grid at the Black Hills Speedway in South Dakota.

Mechoopda Tribe: 'Enough is enough' as appeals court rules in homelands case
The Mechoopda Tribe is still willing to sit down with local opponents to discuss plans for a long-delayed casino in northern California.

Only caribou herd in lower 48 United States declared 'functionally extinct'
The only caribou herd in the lower 48 United States has been declared 'functionally extinct' because it is down to just three animals.

Tribes kept in the dark as Trump administration rolls on with reorganization
Despite claims by the Trump administration that it won't move forward with a reorganization without Indian Country's input, tribes continue to be excluded.

Cronkite News: Former sheriff pardoned by Trump seeks to clear conviction
A controversial former sheriff who targeted Native people and other minorities is trying to clear his record.

Victor Swallow: We are a broken and scattered people. How do we rebuild?
We are a broken people and most of us wouldn't know how to survive without the help of the government that destroyed our ancestors' way of life.

Native Sun News Today: Native youth take a stand against methamphetamine
A methamphetamine awareness walk will bring together service providers, recovering addicts, law enforcement, city leaders and youth in South Dakota.

Pine Ridge family still grieving after crash claims lives of mother and 14-year-old son
On February 23, Lynell Morrison-Cash and her son Waylon, 14, died when their car was struck head-on in Nebraska.

Tribal lobbyist running on pro-Trump agenda for seat in North Carolina
A well-known tribal lobbyist is seeking the Republican nomination for a U.S. Congressional seat in North Carolina.

South Dakota now offering specialty license plates for all nine Sioux tribes
The state of South Dakota is now offering specialty license plates for all nine tribes based within its borders.

Angelo Baca: Bears Ears faces serious threat under the Trump administration
Bears Ears is at the center of a critical discussion around Indigenous rights and protection of sacred sites and traditional uses in the United States.

Cronkite News: Supreme Court strikes down law linked to violent crime
The Supreme Court ruled that a federal law allowing deportation of immigrants who commit 'crimes of violence' was unconstitutionally vague, a decision hailed by Arizona immigration lawyers as promising.

Tribal self-governance celebrates 30th anniversary with some 'PROGRESS'
The tribal self-governance program, a key development in the self-determination era, is celebrating its 30th anniversary with some achievements.

Tribes secure hearing on homelands legislation amid drama on Capitol Hill
When it comes to tribal homelands, the Senate has some catching up to do with the House.

James Giago Davies: We grew up never knowing my veteran dad was suffering
My dad never told me that he loved me. I never once heard him tell my mom he loved her.

Native Sun News Today: Audit faults tribal consultation at nuclear agency
An audit is finding much to be desired when it comes to tribal consultation and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Tribes hail historic Supreme Court hire as justices hear treaty rights case
With the U.S. Supreme Court taking up its third Indian law case of the term, tribes and their advocates are welcoming a historic development.

Seminole Tribe readies June 28 opening for Hard Rock in Atlantic City
With Donald Trump's ghosts long gone, the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Atlantic City is ready to rock and roll on June 28.

George Amiotte: Reflecting on my third tour of duty in Vietnam in 1969
It was 1969 and I was returning to Vietnam for my third tour of duty (TDY) with the 3rd Marine Division, Fleet Marine Force.

'We will be back' vows leader of National Congress of American Indians after sovereignty vote fails
A vote on the Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act failed in spectacular fashion evening but a key leader says the fight isn't over.

Gyasi Ross: Democrats turn on tribes and vote against our sovereignty
'Democrats show, once again, that they are no allies, accomplices, friends or champions of tribal sovereignty.'

Chelsey Luger: Whose Native lands are you on? A new app can tell you
Enter your ZIP code into the Native Lands App and an interactive map will tell you the area’s original language and tribal ties.

Native Sun News Today: Tribes continue fight to protect grizzly bears
Referring to a tribal lawsuit to protect the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem's grizzly bears, Crow Creek Sioux Chairman Brandon Sazue noted that a top lawmaker is on their side.

Mark Trahant: Tribes lose a battle as sovereignty bill comes up for vote
Tribes lost a battle in Congress when Democrats tanked a bill giving tribes authority over labor relations.

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.