Thursday, October 15, 2009

Udall: Native Americans struggling to get affordable access to health care.

U.S. Senator Tom Udall, D-NM, joined 15 Senate colleagues today in introducing major legislation to improve health care for 1.9 million American Indians and Alaska Natives across the country – the Indian Health Care Improvement Reauthorization and Extension Act of 2009.

The federal government has treaty obligations to provide health care to American Indians and Alaska Natives, but Udall noted Indian health care programs haven’t been updated in more than ten years and have been chronically underfunded for decades.

Udall said:
The United States has an obligation to provide quality, accessible health services for our country’s First Americans, but right now, the federal government isn’t living up to that responsibility,” said Udall, a member of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. “This legislation would bring much-needed reforms to the Indian health care system to begin addressing the dramatic health disparities that face Native Americans, including skyrocketing diabetes rates, lack of preventive care, and an epidemic of teen suicide.

For Pete's Sake

Health care for the first Americans is a pledge the country made. Udall is correct. It's a pledge that must be honored.

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