Bush to American Indians “Drop Dead”

( – promoted by navajo)

(cross-posted from daily kos)

The Indian Health Care Improvement Act is being debated this week in the Senate. The bill is to reauthorize the Indian Health Care Improvement Act and bring the Native American health care services to modernity.  The Indian Health Care Improvement Act was originally signed by Gerald Ford in 1976 to help combat Indian poverty. The Indian Health Service has brought medical care to reservations and urban Indian communities across the land. It has been over 14 years since the last authorization of the bill.

Despite the fact the bill hasn’t even been passed yet in the Senate- (where if faces a series of hostile ammendments) Bush is threatening a veto.

It is being reported that the Bush Administration is threatening to veto an Indian health bill that is aimed at improving the health care of those living on Indian reserves.

The bill would boost screening and mental health programs provided by the Indian Health Service. There would also be an increase in access to Medicare and Medicaid and ‘reservation health clinics would be improved’. The bill would

increase the number of American Indians in health care professions, increase funds for screening and health prevention programs, request the establishment and modernization of health clinics, address access to care issues for American Indians, and expand mental health care programs (Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, 1/18). According to Congressional Budget Office estimates, the measure would authorize discretionary spending of $16 billion over a five-year period and $35 billion over the next decade.

Bush doesn’t want to help improve a program that “provides coverage for about 1.8 million American Indians and Alaska Natives primarily through tribal health care providers and a network of government hospitals and clinics.” And the reason?

The White House issued a policy statement that called for changes to the bill and said Bush would veto the measure if they were not made (CQ Today, 1/23). The Bush administration objected to a provision that would expand the rules for employers to pay their workers prevailing local wages for new projects funded under the bill, according to CongressDaily (CongressDaily, 1/22). The administration also criticized what it said were inadequate documentation requirements included in the bill for enrollment in Medicaid and other government-sponsored programs. http://www.kaisernetwork.org/d…

American Indians need this bill. The health problems facing American Indians are well known.

They suffer disproportionately from diseases such as alocholism, diabetes, and heart disease. They have a high infant mortality rate. It is 150 percent higher for Native American infants than white infants. The suicide rate amongst Native Americans is two and a half times the national rate.

Barrack Obama (a co-sponsor of the bill along with Hillary Clinton) said “With these alarming statistics, improvements to Native American health care could not come at a more urgent time.” (press release )

Native Americans have been crushed under the racist wheel of colonialism and ‘progress’. Bush is to see that American Indians continue to suffer the consquences of history. Bush is a disgrace to American Indians and human decency. Would it be too much to ask to help alleviate the suffering of a people who have suffered so much through out American history?

American Indians were to be compensated for the land that was stolen from them. In exchange for the land American Indians were to government supported health care. American Indians continue to be shafted by a government that has woefully neglected them.

Health care was promised in treaties that Indian nations signed with the United States. Health in exchange for the land that is America.  At the various times when treaties were signed, Indian leaders faced the annihilation of their people if they didn’t make bargain ceding their land. What they asked for in return were a handful of basic needs, what the United Nations calls human rights. Among these was health care. http://www.indiancountry.com/c…

So it goes….

Senator Max Baucus is right when he calls the treatment of American Indians an ‘abomination’.

“It is an abomination, a tragedy what little attention we pay to Native Americans’ health care needs, I wish that more people in the country would visit an Indian reservation; I wish they would visit Indian Health Service hospitals. They would realize the abysmal plight of so many people in America that this bill helps.”

Take a look at what Baucus has to say over at and what he did on his role on the Finance Committee at Native American Times

The Finance Committee provisions would clarify how Medicaid, Medicare, and CHIP pay Indian health providers.

The Finance Committee provisions would increase outreach and enrollment of Indians in Medicaid and CHIP.

These provisions would clarify cost-sharing protections for Indians in Medicaid and CHIP.

These provisions would protect Indian health providers from discrimination in payment for services.

These provisions would require States and the Secretary of HHS to consult with Indian health providers.

These provisions would ensure that Medicaid managed care organizations pay Indian health providers appropriately.

And these provisions would require the Secretary to report on Indian enrollment in Federal programs and related matters on an annual basis.

It’s a good package. The Senate ought to pass this bill. And Congress should reauthorize the Indian Health Care Improvement Act.

The United States owes a debt to the Native American population whose ancestors are tied up with the very soil that all Americans share. The Federal Government owes a duty to help improve the health of American Indians. And we in this Senate have the obligation to pass this act and honor the flesh, the bones, and the blood of our Indian brethren.


  1.  I was glad to see this issue posted here, it’s very important for us for this to pass. The Senate has put off consideration of the bill for another week. If I had time I would tell you some of the horror stories about the IHS that I know of personally but suffice it to say each and every family on the rez can tell you many stories about inadequate or nonexistant health care that had devastating results for them or their families.

    Bush has threatened to veto the bill over the “prevailing wage” provisions. It would seem to me that our natural allies on this would be any pro-labor Senators but I’m not in touch with the Tribes lobbying efforts, I do know there is one though. I wonder if it’s too late to revive the post on dkos to ask the people there to keep calling on the issue?  

  2. From  hblevi@aaip.org

    Hello All,

    I sat in on a conference call this morning with North

    Dakota Senator Byron Dorgan, to review S. 1200 the Indian

    Health Improvement Act.  Apparently this bill has

    finally made it to the Senate floor and will be introduced on

    Tuesday, January 22.  If you have not followed this

    authorization bill lately which I have not, it proposes some

    really great provisions that were outlined on the call.

     Here are some of the things I was able to write down,

    increasing cancer screenings and other screenings beyond

    Tuberculosis, making the existing diabetes programs

    permanent, provisions for hospice care, and long term care

    services.  One thing I found really interesting was a

    provision to establish demonstration projects to offer

    convenience care through 7 day a week clinics with extended

    hours.  Please email your US Senator, apparently by law

    they are required to have someone on their staff review

    them.  Most of you on this list are from Oklahoma, from

    my understanding it is anticipated that US Senator for

    Oklahoma Tom Coburn will not support this bill, please

    let him know that we expect that he represent our needs

    as well.  Below are some advised steps for contacting

    your Senator.  Also here is a link to additional

    information about the bill, I think you can actually download it

    from here, as of 11/02 there are 30 cosponsors:


    If you have any questions, I will try to help, please do

    what you can to support our folks,

    Heather Levi

    Begin forwarded message:

    From: “Philip Roulain”

    Date: January 18, 2008 11:29:46 AM CST






    List of Supporters (Adobe Acrobat PDF)

    1.       Call Your Senator:

    1.       Capitol Switchboard phone number is (202)


    2.       Ask to be connected to your Senator’s office.

    3.       Ask to speak to the Health Legislative

    Assistant (LA) List of Senate offices, names and phone numbers

    of Health Legislative Assistants

    2.       Ask the Senator to:

    1.       Be present during the Senate vote on Tuesday,

    January 22 (1st vote at 5:30 pm)

    2.       Vote in favor of cloture and S. 1200

    3.       Make a Floor Statement about Indian Health

    4.       VOTE YES ON S. 1200

    3.       Offer to provide your Senator with talking

    points for his/her Floor statement:

    1.       Personal stories about health

    2.       Why passage of the IHCIA is so important to you

    and your family

    3.       Success stories about implementing innovative

    health programs and activities

    Send the Health LA the information and follow up!

    Make sure they received your information.

    4.       If you cannot talk to the Health LA, make sure

    you leave a voice mail message:

    1.       State that you are a constituent – leave your

    name and city/town/Tribe

    2.       State that you want the Senator to vote for S.


    3.       Ask the Senator to make a Floor statement in

    support of the IHCIA

    4.       Ask the Senator to VOTE YES ON S. 1200 on

    January 22!

    The following is a list of the 29 co-sponsors of S.

    1200. If your Senator is not a co-sponsor, please call your

    Senate offices and ask your Senators to cosponsor S.


    Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND)

    Sen. Pete Domenici (R-NM)

    Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA)

    Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT)

    Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL)

    Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL)

    Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM)

    Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-HI)

    Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV)

    Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA)

    Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD)

    Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY)

    Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH)

    Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA)

    Sen. Gordon Smith (R-OR)

    Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA)

    Sen. John Kerry (D-MA)

    Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)

    Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY)

    Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)

    Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK)

    Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS)

    Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI)

    Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT)

    Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-CT)

    Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)

    Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-HI)

    Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA)

    Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)

    The NIHB and technical staff of the Tribal NSC has

    prepared talking points on possible amendments we anticipate

    to be offered. They are:

    5.       Urban Indian health – possible amendments to

    the definition of urban Indian and amendments to delete

    any expansion authorities for urban Indian programs. UIH

    Briefing Paper (Adobe Acrobat PDF)

    6.       Federal Tort Claims Act coverage of Traditional

    health care practices – possible amendment to limit

    the liability of the Federal government for any injury or

    death resulting from traditional health care

    services.Federal Tort Claims Act Briefing Paper (Adobe Acrobat


    7.       Cost-sharing – possible amendment to

    eliminate a provision that would exempt co-payment requirements

    for Medicaid Indian beneficiaries who receive Medicaid

    services through the Indian Health Service, tribal or

    urban Indian programs.Cost-sharing Briefing Paper (Adobe

    Acrobat PDF)

    8.       Prohibition on Use of IHS funds to perform

    abortions – possible amendment to the IHCIA to include

    current prohibition on use of IHS funds to perform

    abortions.Abortion Briefing Paper (Adobe Acrobat PDF)

    9.       Medicaid citizenship requirements – possible

    amendment to delete provisions that would recognize

    tribal enrollment cards as legitimate proof of U.S.

    citizenship for Medicaid purposes.Citizenship Briefing Paper

    (Adobe Acrobat PDF)

    10.   Section 301 – possible amendment to allow the

    Secretary the discretion to establish an area distribution

    fund for health care facility construction.Section 301

    Briefing Paper (Adobe Acrobat PDF)

    Thank you,

    Phillip Roulain

    Administrative Assistant

    Interim Address

    National Indian Health Board

    1940 Duke Street, Ste. 200

    Alexandria, VA  22314

    Phone:  703-486-5706

    Fax:  703-486-5717

    Web:  www.nihb.org

  3. again at DKOS with the additional information Cacamp provided??

    If you send me an email when you post I can round up some recommenders and maybe get some attention to this issue.

    ps:  I am offline from 10ish pm until 6am ish pacific time. So I can’t rally the troops during that time.

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