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Utah Summit Addresses Health Issues Facing American Indians

Armen Hareyan's picture

Representatives from various American Indian tribes in Utah met for a two-day Native American Indian Summit last week to discuss disparities in health care, education and economic development, the Deseret Morning News reports. The summit was initiated by Gov. Jon Huntsman (R).

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Participants discussed American Indian's access to Medicaid and other health issues, Melissa Zito, Indian health liaison and health policy consultant for the Utah Department of Health, said. At issue is the federal rule that requires Medicaid beneficiaries and applicants to provide documentation proving their U.S. citizenship in order to obtain public health benefits. According to the Morning News, the requirement "can be problematic for some [American Indians] because a tribal identification can no longer be used on its own as proof of identity."

In addition, some individuals have difficulty obtaining necessary documents that prove their origin or even a birth certificate because some tribal laws require that the documentation is requested in person, "something that can be problematic for those who don't live near their birthplace," according to the Morning News (Bulkeley, Desert Morning News, 9/17).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives. The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. 2007 Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.