Increase funding to the Indian Health Services
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Thousands of Native Americans across the United States are denied access to life-saving health care. According to the Huffington Post on August 31, 2017, one in three Native Americans are still uninsured, despite the federal government's obligations to provide free and sustainable health care. The lack of funding to the Indian Health Services (IHS) has been a major problem and resulted in thousands of premature deaths from easily treatable medical issues.
Montana Public Radio stated on December 12, 2017, that the Indian Health Services is required to pay for private sector health care for patients, however, the IHS denies over half of all referrals leaving thousands uninsured. Furthermore, the Washington Post on February 12, 2017, explained that Healthcare systems outside the Indian Health Services generally see very few Native American patients, because it's difficult to access care in the private sector. This is due to the high poverty and uninsured rates among Native Americans, who often live in rural areas with few health care providers.
According to NPR of December 6, 2017, it states that Congress has consistently failed to allocate enough money to meet Native American health needs. In 2016, Congress prepared a budget that set aside $4.8 billion for the IHS. The IHS is supposed to provide healthcare for 3.7 million Americans, however, this allotment only delegates $1,297 per person which, at current rates, is equivalent to having one x-ray. Furthermore, federal inmates are provided with $6,973 per person for healthcare which creates the illusion that Native Americans are less valuable than inmates. CNN on July 22, 2017, explained that many use the saying “don't get sick after June.” This saying is used to reveal to others that funding for the IHS often runs out before June.
We must call on the United States House of Representatives to request more funding for the Indian Health Services within the United States. By passing “Make America Secure and Prosperous Appropriations Act” and “Restoring Accountability in IHS Act of 2017," this will provide a substantial increase in funding to the Indian Health Services. This will save the lives of thousands of Native Americans seeking Healthcare.
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