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Indian Health Bill Advocate Still Hopeful


Specializes in Med-Surg, Geriatric, Behavioral Health. Has 32 years experience.

Rachel Joseph isn't ready to give up.

For nearly a decade, the Lone Pine Paiute-Shoshone has been fighting for reauthorization of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act.

"We've been at it for nine years," said Joseph, co-chair of the National Steering Committee for the Reauthorization of the IHCIA. "I need to remain optimistic that it's going to get done real soon."

But in all reality, it looks like another year will end without federal lawmakers passing the much-needed legislation that would expand and improve delivery of health care to Native people.

But Joseph isn't ready to give up. What drives her?

That's easy.

Stories like that of Ta'Shon Rain Littlelight, a 5-year-old Crow girl from Montana who died in her mother's arms the night before she was to see Cinderella's Castle at Disney World because her cancer was not diagnosed early.

Stories like that of Avis Littlewind, a 14-year-old girl who lay for 90 days curled up in a fetal position on her bed before killing herself because no treatment center existed on her reservation to help her.

Victims of a failing Indian Health Service.

Two Native youth whose lives' tragic lessons will once again go unheeded.

For at least another year.


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