Friday, October 16, 2009

Indian Health Care...Believe it when you see it!

What about Dental!!

Indian Health Care Improvement Act is introduced today
Written by Tim Johnson's Office Thursday, 15 October 2009 17:51

The Act would permanently reauthorize Indian health care programs

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD), a member of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, today joined with Chairman Byron Dorgan (D-ND) to introduce the Indian Health Care Improvement Act (IHCIA) of 2009, which would improve health care services throughout Indian Country. Johnson is an original co-sponsor of the bill.

“The grave reality is that the six counties in the nation with the lowest life expectancy are tribal counties in South Dakota. As the national debate focuses on health care, we should take this time to also spotlight the need to improve native health care,” Johnson said. “We not only have a treaty responsibility, but a moral duty to improve the lives of all American Indians in our country, and this bill will help us live up to these commitments.”

This legislation would permanently reauthorize Indian health care programs. The legislation, originally authorized in 1976 and last reauthorized in 1992, provides health care for American Indians and Alaska Natives to help fulfill the U.S. Government’s treaty and trust responsibilities to Indian Country.

The last IHCIA expired at the end of Fiscal Year 2001. While the government has still appropriated money for Indian health programs since the previous law expired, this legislation would apply standards to ensure the modernization and improvement of health care in Indian Country.

According to the National Institutes of Health, Indians are 550 percent more likely to die from alcoholism and 200 percent more likely to die from diabetes than other groups of people.

“Prevention and early detection are paramount for effective treatment,” continued Johnson. “This bill will not fix everything, but it will do a lot to address the major deficiencies in health care in Indian Country.”

For a section-by-section summary of this bill, it will be available at Senator Johnson’s website: