Opinion: A terrible precedent in Indian health
"According to the Indian Health Service, American Indians suffer much higher death rates of most leading causes of death than the rest of the country. Death rates from tuberculosis, alcoholism, diabetes and suicide are dramatically higher than mortality rates of other Americans as well (750% , 550%, 190% and 70% respectively).

All of these facts are known by every member of the House and Senate, yet the Indian Health Service has reported that "about one third more money per capita is spent on health care for felons in federal prisons than on the health care for those on the reservations."

If the fact that the Indian Health Service operates under the umbrella of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is added into the equation, then the prospect of what our government-run health care system may become is frightening at best.

If the government, by its own admission, has done such a poor job of running the health care system on reservations, how can we expect it to do a better job running the health care of everyone in the United States? Maybe the Native Americans on the reservations are not restless about what's happening in their communities, but this native American, as well as many others, is plenty restless.

How dare President Obama and those members of Congress who support his health care reforms try to pass the reforms before their August recess. Roughly $2 trillion is too much money (that we don't have) to throw around so the members Congress can go on vacation. There are too many kinks in the president's reforms that need to be ironed out before anyone leaves Capitol Hill for the summer.

Our government set a terrible precedent with the manner in which it has handled the free health care on Indian reservations."

Get the Story:
Geveryl Robinson: The natives are restless (The Savannah Morning News 7/19)

Related Stories:
Dorgan seeks views on Indian health care reform (07/10)
Letter: Reform IHS before taking on US health care (07/01)
Video: Dr. Roubideaux speech at swearing-in (6/30)
Opinion: The health care crisis in Indian Country (6/30)
Swearing-in ceremony for IHS head Roubideaux (6/29)
Editorial: IHS gets some long-overdue attention (6/26)
Tribes unsure of IHS stake in national reform talks (6/26)
House Resources Committee hearing on IHCIA (6/25)
Editorial: Get started on Indian health care (6/22)
Roubideaux won't call IHS a 'historic failure' (6/18)
Tribes want action, not words, on health care (6/17)
HHS Secretary promises Indian health focus (6/16)
Indian Country still waiting for better health care (6/15)