Feinstein Backs Continued Funds for Indian Health
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), chair of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, on Tuesday said that Congress should continue to fund a program that provides low-cost medical services to American Indians in urban areas, the AP/Palm Springs Desert Sun reports. The subcommittee drafts appropriations bills for American Indian health care programs (AP/Palm Springs Desert Sun, 3/14).
The fiscal year 2008 budget proposed by President Bush would eliminate the $33 million Urban Indian Health Program, a system of 34 health clinics nationwide. Last year, both the House and Senate rejected a similar proposal.
The budget also would reduce by $25 million funds for Indian Health Facilities, which supports construction and improvements to American Indian medical services (American Health Line, 2/22).
Feinstein in a statement said, "Cutting off funding for the Urban Health program is a mistake." Health clinic directors have said that, without funds, the clinics would close.
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and a bipartisan group of 10 other lawmakers on Monday wrote letters to subcommittee leaders to seek support for the program, which serves an estimated 430,000 American Indians in urban areas nationwide (AP/Palm Springs Desert Sun, 3/14).