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Addressing Threat To Veto Indian Health Care Improvement Act

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Indian Health CareImprovement Act

Two newspapers recentlypublished editorials that addressed a threat last week by President Bush toveto a bill (S 1200) that would reauthorize the Indian Health Care ImprovementAct through 2017. Summaries appear below.

  • New York Times: The threat to veto the bill is "both cruel and grossly unfair," a Times editorial states. According to the editorial, the bill "takes aim at such long neglected needs as the plight" of American Indians and Alaska Natives who live in urban areas, most of whom are "either ineligible for, or unable to reach, the limited help" offered by the Indian Health Service. Meanwhile, the Bush administration has "sought to eliminate -- not bolster -- the severely underfinanced" Urban Indian Health Program, the editorial states. In addition, although the "administration insists it wants to improve health care" for American Indians and Alaska Natives, "it objects to the most basic parts of the Senate measure, including its provisions for better urban health programs and its proposal to provide better access to Medicaid and Medicare," according to the editorial. The editorial states, "The nation has clear legal and moral obligations to protect the welfare" of American Indians and Alaska Natives, adding, "Congress must rebuff President Bush's veto threat and vote overwhelmingly to strengthen and reauthorize" the law (New York Times, 1/28).
  • Seattle Post-Intelligencer: The U.S. "promised health care to American Indians in treaties that also allowed the new country to secure title for millions of acres of land," but that care has "included chronic underfunding and resulted in a health disparity," a Post-Intelligencer editorial states. According to the editorial, the Senate should approve the bill and "send a signal that this nation is willing to own its legal and moral responsibilities" to provide health care for American Indians and Alaska Natives. The editorial adds that "it's critical that lawmakers prevent the Bush administration (and the next president) from playing games with the annual appropriations for urban Indian health clinics" (Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 1/27).

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.