Editorial Urges Swift Passage Of Indian Health Care Improvement Act

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Indian Health Care

As Congresscontinues to debate the Indian Health Care Improvement Act, "healthdisparities for Native people are increasing, chronic conditions are goinguntreated and waiting lists for doctors and dentists continue to grow," anIndian Country Today editorial states, adding, "Allpolitics aside, this has become a moral issue that must be addressed now."

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The act would help to improve and modernize health care for American Indian andAlaska Native people, according to the editorial. It notes that the act waslast authorized 16 years ago, during which time the American Indian/AlaskaNative population more than doubled. Because of "inadequate and temporaryfederal funding," Indian Health Service facilities "are regularlyforced to ration care," which has led to a "backlog of patientsforced to wait several months before receiving medical or dental care,"the editorial says.

The editorial concludes, "Human rights and dignity are at issue here; itis unconscionable to delay this critical legislation any longer" (IndianCountry Today, 1/25).

Reprintedwith permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Weekly Health Disparities Report, search the archives, and sign upfor email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Weekly HealthDisparities Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of TheHenry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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