Health | Opinion

Raúl Grijalva: Republicans are forgetting about Indian Country again






The Parker Indian Health Center in Parker, Arizona. Photo: Churl Han

Republicans are intent on getting rid of the Affordable Care Act, which includes a permanent reauthorization of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act. Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Arizona), the top Democrat on the House Committee on Natural Resources Committee, explains how repeal affects the Indian Health Service:
Republicans in Congress tend to forget about Native Americans, and it looks like they are about to do so again. When Republicans in Washington brag about repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), there is something they forget to mention: repealing the Affordable Care Act would repeal authorization for the Indian Health Care Improvement Act (IHCIA), which was included in Obamacare. Destroying the Affordable Care Act will indeed make America sick again, and it could make Native Americans sickest of all.

The Indian Health Service (IHS) provides health care for approximately 2.2 million Native Americans and Alaska Natives in 35 states, including inpatient, emergency, ambulatory and dental care. IHS programs also provide preventive care aimed at reducing unacceptably high rates of infant mortality, diabetes, hepatitis B, alcoholism, and suicide among American Indians and Alaska Natives.

The IHS funds construction and maintenance of hospitals and health centers as well as water supply and sanitation facilities. The IHS has documented decreased rates of certain diseases among American Indians and Alaska Natives thanks to even modest sanitation improvements. Unfortunately, more of these improvements are needed and funding for these projects is at risk. The Democratic staff of the House Natural Resources Committee documented the deplorable lack of access to clean water in Indian country in an October 2016 report titled “Water Delayed is Water Denied.”

Read More on the Story:
Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva: Making America Sick Again: What a Repeal of the Affordable Care Act Could Mean (Indian Country Today 2/1)

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