Mark Trahant is a writer, speaker and Twitter poet. He is a member of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes and lives in Fort Hall, Idaho. Trahant’s recent book, “The Last Great Battle of the Indian Wars,” is the story of Sen. Henry Jackson and Forrest Gerard.
A question for any Republican running for any federal office: If you are successful repealing “ObamaCare,” what happens to the Indian Health Care Improvement Act?
South Dakota’s Rep. Kristi Noem illustrates the GOP’s mixed message. Her web page says: “I will support efforts to fully repeal the health care bill.” A few clicks later, she adds, “a lack of resources and medical staff are constantly the biggest hurdles to quality health care on our reservations. Improving access and quality of care should be a key priority.”
It’s nice to have it both ways. At least on paper. But it is an important question because the Affordable Care Act – ObamaCare – includes the Indian Health Care Improvement Act. If you repeal one, you repeal both. Sure, you could pass another Indian Health Care Improvement Act, but that’s a tall order.
But this dilemma shows the larger Republican problem with health care reform. If not the Affordable Care Act, then what? And once a proposal is on paper, do the numbers add up? Do the ideas really reduce health care costs and by extension the single largest budget issue facing the federal government?
Don’t hold your breath waiting for real answers. The problem in our political discourse is that folks are not required to give answers as complex as the problems. It’s enough to say, “I am against ObamaCare,” without detailing what should happen next.