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Sun Sep 1, 2013, 05:51 AM

Plenty in Obamacare for Natives

A lot of people in this country are under the assumption that all American Indians and Alaska Natives get free health care. They falsely believe the Indian Health Service is just another entitlement program for Indian people. The truly ignorant are even resentful that Indians get all this “free stuff” from the U.S. government. Those who are educated know that health care was included in the treaties that tribes negotiated with the United States in exchange for land and other natural resources.

The IHS provides a comprehensive health service delivery system for approximately 2.1 million American Indians and Alaska Natives — about half of those who identified as Native Americans in the 2010 census. It administers a $4.1 billion nationwide health care delivery program that is responsible for providing preventive, curative and community health care to Native people in hospitals and clinics throughout the country.

Talking about the possible negative effect of sequestration on tribal communities recently, former U.S. Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., was very outspoken and strongly acknowledged the tribes’ nation-to-nation relationship with the U.S.

“When we pushed American Indians off their tribal lands, we signed treaties making promises to provide services — such as health care, education and housing — in exchange for that land,” said Dorgan, who also served as chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs.

More at http://www.santafenewmexican.com/opinion/local_columns/article_ce8910d4-4948-50c6-a3bb-4ed60bda6f3b.html .

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