Editorial: A big step for improving Indian health
"Today, we visit a different health-care arena, one that is most assuredly notworking OK for another group of less-than-powerful citizens: Native Americans. Despite a constitutional commitment to provide health care for the nation's first citizens, the agency charged with doing it, the Indian Health Service, is an underfunded, bureaucratic mess.

In fact the IHS often is held up as an example of how awful it would be if we all were subjected to government-provided health care.

Indians under the program are subjected to intolerable waits for medications and medical procedures, often causing the illness or injury to degenerate to a much more serious — and expensive — level.

Although folks in Indian Country have heard this countless times before, help may be on the way.

The U.S. Senate this week passed, 83-10, a bill to renew, modernize and improve the Indian health-care system.

It would be the first upgrade in the system since 1992. You don't have to think too hard to fathom how much has changed in the practice of medicine in the 16 intervening years."

Get the Story:
Editorial: Senate takes big step to improve Indian health care (The Great Falls Tribune 2/29)

Indian Health Care Improvement Act Amendments:
S.1200 | H.R.1328

White House Document:
Statement of Administration Policy (January 22, 2008)

Relevant Links:
Indian Health Service - http://www.ihs.gov
National Indian Health Board - http://www.nihb.org

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