indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+
ph: 202 630 8439   fax: 202 318 2182
Kill The Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement
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...
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Native Sun News: Homeless students find support in Rapid City (9/16)
Checks from final payment of Cobell settlement put in the mail (9/16)
DOI offers $9.4M for Cobell buy-backs on Umatilla Reservation (9/16)
House takes up bill to address tribal general welfare programs (9/16)
Tribal leaders headed to Capitol Hill to push legislative priorities (9/16)
NMAI hosts symposium on treaties to coincide with new exhibit (9/16)
Witnesses: Hearing on bill to bar Tohono O'odham Nation casino (9/16)
Rival tribes spend $13M to block Tohono O'odham Nation casino (9/16)
Mark Charles: Trail of Tears sign points to much deeper problem (9/16)
Donna Ennis: Don't let ethnic imposters take away our identity (9/16)
Serial killer sentenced to life term for murder of Native woman (9/16)
Civil rights complaint filed over repeated denial of honor song (9/16)
Sen. Cantwell to introduce bill to end NFL's tax-exempt status (9/16)
House backs package to transfer federal land to Te-Moak Tribe (9/16)
Fort Peck Tribes cited state game warden for criminal trespass (9/16)
Mohegan Tribe to open first Smashburger location in December (9/16)
Police in Ontario investigate letter that threatens Native people (9/16)
Urban Indian population grows in Brazil's poorest neighborhoods (9/16)
Indian family in Washington continues bid for casino on allotment (9/16)
Saginaw Chippewa Tribe challenges NLRB jurisdiction over casino (9/16)
Mohegan Tribe loses bid for commercial casino in Massachusetts (9/16)
Connecticut tribes see another decline in slot machine revenues (9/16)
Tim Giago: Standing tall for Native American Day in South Dakota (9/15)
Native Sun News: Northern Cheyenne man beaten by BIA officer (9/15)
Mark Trahant: Ten reasons why every Native person should vote (9/15)
Jay Daniels: Still waiting on that final Cobell settlement payment (9/15)
Vote set on bill to protect Gun Lake Tribe's casino from litigation (9/15)
HUD settles complaint for couple on Turtle Mountain Reservation (9/15)
Bryan Brewer: Approve HR3043 to stop IRS harassment of tribes (9/15)
Maryann McGovran: Vote for North Fork Rancheria's gaming deal (9/15)
Donna Ennis: Tribal banishments are a form of cultural genocide (9/15)
Steven Newcomb: Political meanings restrict indigenous peoples (9/15)
Bruce Anderson: Washington team name preserves stereotypes (9/15)
Column: DC-area Native people oppose NFL team's racist mascot (9/15)
House set to vote on bill to transfer federal land to Te-Moak Tribe (9/15)
Paskenta Band holds election aimed at resolving council dispute (9/15)
Tribes in Oklahoma raise their minimum wage above federal level (9/15)
Blog: Taos Pueblo exerts sovereignty over health care programs (9/15)
Travel: Remote parks on Navajo Nation are an 'extraordinary find' (9/15)
Petitions submitted to put Tohono O'odham Nation casino to vote (9/15)
Dry Creek Rancheria struggling to see gaming revenues recover (9/15)
Poarch Creeks still open to Class III gaming compact discussion (9/15)
Editorial: Cherokee Nation brings jobs with project next to casino (9/15)
Native Sun News: Olympic medalist visits Pine Ridge Reservation (9/12)
Bryan Brewer: Bill for Native language immersion a high priority (9/12)
Sen. Tester applauds approval of final Cobell settlement payout (9/12)
Kenneth Deer: UN meeting an opportunity for indigenous peoples (9/12)
Judge won't issue injunction in Pojoaque Pueblo compact dispute (9/12)
Ex-manager for Shingle Springs Band's casino told to pay $2.4M (9/12)
Briefs filed in lawsuit over United Keetoowah Band's gaming site (9/12)
Quapaw Tribe expands agricultural program at casino restaurant (9/12)
Judge approves motion to distribute Cobell settlement payment (9/11)
Native Sun News: Final Cobell payment might 'almost' be ready (9/11)
Mark Trahant: Affordable Care Act is worthy of debate in election (9/11)
Gyasi Ross: Support Quechan skate park and self-determination (9/11)
Disaster declared after Moapa Paiute Reservation hit by flooding (9/11)
Brian Pierson: Recent federal court decisions affecting Indian law (9/11)
Navajo Nation presidential candidate a target over fluency issue (9/11)
Northern Arapaho Tribe withdraws from joint Wind River council (9/11)
Editorial: Standing Rock Sioux Tribe trying to make budget work (9/11)
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.