Venida Chenault: Do better for health care
"By challenging the status quo in the health care industry, President Obama has enraged politicians, lobbyists, pharmaceutical companies, the for-profit hospital industry and insurance companies who annually report record profits. Those who have the privilege of affordable health care see no reason for others without insurance to want the same. It’s the old, “I’ve got mine, who cares about you” tactic. As a result, President Obama is under attack by those who want him to fail because he cares about those who need health care and those who voted for change.

Conservative pundits, politicians and millionaire radio jocks are spinning the politics of fear about this initiative to make sure there is no expansion of health care for the working class, unemployed or poor of this nation while individuals and families are being forced into bankruptcy because they have inadequate insurance or no coverage. How many people do you know who have been forced to ignore lumps or endure pain because they don’t have a doctor, or who wait for donations and funding for public health clinics to get needed biopsies, treatment or surgery? We have to do better than this.

For nearly a decade, the safety net of health services has been eroded by declines in state and federal funding while the costs of health care skyrockets. Over the past eight years, the Bush Congress and state legislatures have justified these cuts by arguing tax breaks to corporations who ship companies abroad and to the wealthy, promising they would create jobs. Instead, these decisions worsened conditions.

The health care options for ordinary people who struggle financially are reduced and, in some cases, have been eliminated during this era of trickle-down economics. Funding over the past decade to federal, state and county clinics providing care to lower income families has declined. IHS is consistently underfunded. Funding for Urban Indian Health clinics is no better."

Get the Story:
Venida Chenault: We can do better in health debate (Indian Country Today 8/14)

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