Obama Statement on Indian Health Care Improvement Act
Today, U.S. Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) made the following statement on the Medicare, Medicaid and SCHIP Indian Health Care Improvement Act of 2007, which passed out of the Senate Finance Committee today:
"For more than 14 years, Congress has failed to reauthorize the Indian Health Care Improvement Act and complete a comprehensive review and modernization of Native American health care. This is simply unacceptable.
"As infant mortality and suicide rates escalate and more and more Native Americans suffer from debilitating diseases like diabetes, modernizing and improving Native American health care could not come at a more urgent time.
"While the U.S. government has a responsibility to provide health care stemming from treaty obligations, it is also this 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 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 also deserve the same high quality health care professionals that care for families throughout the country.
"With 21st century health care challenges, it's inconceivable that Native Americans are receiving 20th century solutions. This Congress has a unique opportunity to make this bill law. I am proud to cosponsor this bill and I strongly urge its swift passage in the Senate."