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Editorial: U.S. failing to provide Indian health care

"Health care for many Native Americans in this country sinks to Third World levels. According to a draft report by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, deaths from alcoholism are 770 percent more likely among Native Americans than the general population; from tuberculosis, 650 percent; and from diabetes, 420 percent. In some tribes, one in two people suffer from diabetes. The Indian Health Service, primary health care provider for more than 1.6 million members of federally recognized tribes, is so underfunded that it spends only $1,914 per patient per year, about half of what the government spends on prisoners ($3,803) and far below what is spent on the average American ($5,065). Funding is so low that to be transferred out of an IHS facility for specialized treatment a patient must be in danger of losing a life or limb.

The federal government is bound by treaty to provide for Indian health, and it is failing. This is an obligation the nation has shirked for too long."

Get the Story:
Editorial: A Neglected Obligation (The Washington Post 8/30)

Relevant Links:
National Indian Health Board -
Indian Health Service -

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