Among its pitch, writes Susan Olp of the Billings Gazette, was a publication by the group titled “An American Debt Unpaid: Stories of Native Health.”
The legislation became effective when in March, when President Barack Obama signed the the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which permanently reauthorizes the Indian Health Care Improvement Act.
Just one thing:
The act is no longer dependent on annual reauthorization. And the new law authorizes the Indian Health Service to continue its programs and add some new ones, such as mental and behavioral health services, long-term care, dialysis, health care for Indian veterans and urban Indian health programs.
What the bill didn’t do was allocate the money to fully fund the present programs or any new ones.
So the coalition is back at work with a new booklet: “Native Health Underfunded & Promises Unfulfilled: The Importance of Investing in the Indian Health Service.”
“I have seen people walking around with severe pain, with orthopedic malformations that were never addressed, people addicted to painkillers because they can’t get procedures, people who need substance abuse treatment but can’t receive it, and even people taking their own lives because of a number of factors, including depression,” says Kevin Howlett, health director of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribal health Department.
To read the publication, go to http://www.nnaapc.org/publications/20100814NativeHealthUnderfunded.pdf.
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