BUSH THREATENS A VETO ON HEALTH CARE FOR NATIVE AMERICANS

VETOING HISTORY’S RESPONSIBILITY
(EDITORIAL)
Published: January 28, 2008
President Bush’s threat to veto a bill intended to improve health care for the nation’s American Indians is both cruel and grossly unfair. Five years ago, the United States Commission on Civil Rights examined the government’s centuries-old treaty obligations for the welfare of Native Americans and found Washington spending 50 percent less per capita on their health care than is devoted to felons in prison and the poor on Medicaid.

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A bipartisan bill to begin repairing this shameful situation is now on the Senate floor. It takes aim at such long neglected needs as the plight of urban Indians, who account for two-thirds of the nation’s 4.1 million tribal population. Most of the American Indians and Alaska natives living in cities are either ineligible for, or unable to reach, the limited help of the Indian Health Service’s reservation-based programs. During the Bush years the White House has sought to eliminate — not bolster — the severely underfinanced Urban Indian Health Program.

Studies have established that Native Americans suffer worse than average rates of depression, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The Senate bill would improve treatment for these problems, as well as address alcohol and substance abuse, and suicide among Indian youth. It would expand scholarship help so more American Indians could pursue careers in health care.

The administration insists it wants to improve health care for Native Americans. But it objects to the most basic parts of the Senate measure, including its provisions for better urban health programs and its proposal to provide better access to Medicaid and Medicare. Officials also reject the bill’s proposal to build new clinics because it would require the government to pay construction workers prevailing local wages and benefits.

The nation has clear legal and moral obligations to protect the welfare of Native Americans. Congress must rebuff President Bush’s veto threat and vote overwhelmingly to strengthen and reauthorize the Indian Health Care Improvement Act.

(Article courtesy of The New york Times:  http://www.nytimes.com )

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The travesties against Native Americans by this country are legion.

Broken treaties, massacres, genocide on a massive scale. Lands stolen away, piece, by piece, by piece. Native customs disregarded and obliterated. Disease, starvation, destruction of many, many native languages.

Now this.

President Bush has shown how much he cares for the plight of the health of Native Americans.

In essence has stated to the First Nation people:

“Drop dead.”

And many of them are, from lingering poor health, high rates of diabetes, depression, suicide, cardio-vascular disease, alcoholism, poor sub-standard diets. Not to mention that many young Native Americans still are saddled with inaedequate education.

President Bush is in effect stating that he does not want to see health care for native peoples improve, objecting mainly to provisions for better urban health programs and its proposal to provide better access to Medicaid and Medicare that this Act would provide.

Bush also objects to the bill’s proposal to build new clinics since this would require the U.S. government to pay construction workers the prevailing local wages and benefits.

The passage, strengthening and reauthorization of the Indian Health Care and Improvement Act (which is on the Senate floor as S. 1200) would protect the health and welfare of Native Americans. The Senate must override Bush’s veto, and send a vote that Congress, and the American people do care about the first people who walked upon this land before anyone else came here.

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To learn more about the Indian Health Care Improvement Act, follow these links:

NATIONAL INDIAN HEALTH BOARD:

http://www.nihb.org/

RELATED LINKS:

NATIONAL COUNCIL OF URBAN INDIAN HEALTH HOME PAGE:

http://www.ncuih.org/

U.S. SENATE COMMITTEE ON INDIAN AFFAIRS:

http://indian.senate.gov/public/

NATIONAL CONGRESS OF AMERICAN INDIANS:

http://www.ncai.org/

HOUSE SUBCOMMITTEE PASSES BILL:

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/88238.php

BUREAU OF INDIAN AFFAIRS:

http://www.doi.gov/bureau-indian-affairs.html

“THE VERDICT  –  IT’S BROKEN”:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/01/opinion/01fri2.html?scp=5&sq=&st=nyt

2 Comments

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2 responses to “BUSH THREATENS A VETO ON HEALTH CARE FOR NATIVE AMERICANS

  1. The travesties that the US continues to force upon Native Americans is terrible. I’m working on an article right now about suicide – Native Americans have the highest rate – and then Bush goes along and threatens this! I wish he payed attention more in his Yale history class.

  2. Pingback: ALL THE LIES, PART 2: THE FINAL SOLUTION « BEAUTIFUL, ALSO, ARE THE SOULS OF MY BLACK SISTERS

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