Natives pay for health care with lives


jodi rave: natives pay for health care with lives

monday, october 24, 2005

"the indian health service serves some 1.4 million native americans in 35 states. but too many of those receiving medical care from the indian health service pay for it with their last breath.

patients between 15 to 44 are dying at a rate at least twice that of the general population, according to a recent government accountability office report: 'health care services are not always available to native americans.'

the report, recently submitted to the senate committee on indian affairs, points to the need to improve health care - particularly mental and dental health services - for native people. and it arrives just as congress is again considering reauthorization of the indian health care improvement act.

it's been 13 years since congress revised the act. when lawmakers passed it in 1976, their goal was to create health care parity between native people and the rest of the u.s. population.

but the testimony of indian health service patients, providers and the gao report show that health care in indian country doesn't seem to be improving.

true parity will only be achieved when native patients stop paying for health care with their lives."

get the story:

jodi rave: ihs needs surgery (the rapid city journal 10/22)

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