KHN: Getting the word out about Obamacare in Indian Country

An Indian Health Service facility in Parker, Arizona. Photo by churl via Flickr

Getting The Word Out: Obamacare Is For Native Americans Too
By Anna Gorman
Kaiser Health Network

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — As a member of the Navajo tribe, Rochelle Jake has received free care through the Indian Health Service (IHS) her entire life. The clinics took care of her asthma, allergies and eczema – chronic problems, nothing urgent.

Recently, though, she felt sharp pains in her side. Her doctor recommended an MRI and other tests she couldn’t get through IHS. To pay for it, he urged her to sign up for private insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

“I couldn’t wrap my head around it,” said Jake, 45, sitting on the porch swing of her home in Albuquerque. She didn’t think Obamacare applied to her.

“I thought [IHS] should be responsible for my health care because I am Native American.”

Tribes, health care advocates and government officials across the nation are trying to enroll as many Native Americans as possible in Obamacare, saying it offers new choices to patients and financial relief for struggling Indian hospitals and clinics.

Read the full story on the Kaiser Health Network.

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