Obama Calls on Senate to Swiftly Pass Indian Health Care Bill
U.S. Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) today released the following statement on the Indian Health Care Improvement Act (IHCIA) Amendments of 2007 (S.1200), which is currently before the Senate. Obama is an original cosponsor of the legislation.
"For more than fourteen years, Congress has failed to reauthorize the Indian Health Care Improvement Act and comprehensively modernize Native American health care services. This is unfair and unacceptable.
"Today's Native Americans are disproportionately suffering from debilitating illnesses, like diabetes, heart disease and stroke. The infant mortality rate is 150 percent higher for Native American infants than white infants, and the suicide rate for Native Americans is two and a half times the national rate. With these alarming statistics, improvements to Native American health care could not come at a more urgent time.
"It is our country's moral imperative to address the significant health care disparities between the Native American population and the American population as a whole. We must ensure our tribal health care programs on reservations and in urban centers are adequately prepared to provide preventative health care as well as treatment for substance and alcohol abuse, domestic violence, and mental health issues. Native Americans deserve the same high quality health care professionals that care for families throughout the country.
"I commend Senator Dorgan and the Indian Affairs Committee for their leadership on this legislation, and I strongly urge its swift passage in the Senate."