Senate Bill Aims To Improve American Indian Health Care
The Senate on Jan. 22 will consider a bill (S 1200) that would reauthorize the Indian Health Care Improvement Act, Indian Country Today reports (Reynolds, Indian Country Today, 1/17).
The legislation, sponsored by Senate Indian Affairs Committee Chair Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.), would seek to increase the number of American Indians in health care professions, increase funds for screening and health prevention programs, and request the establishment and modernization of health clinics. In addition, the bill would address access to care issues for American Indians and expand mental health care programs.
Two House committees have passed similar legislation (Jalonick, AP/Dickinson Press, 1/17). However, efforts to reauthorize the law have been "met with Republican resistance in four consecutive Congresses," as health care services for American Indians in urban areas have become a "point of contention for a Republican faction," according to Indian Country Today (Indian Country Today, 1/17).
Dorgan said that the bill is only a small step in efforts to improve the Indian Health System and that he hopes to develop a "significant reform plan" to address problems with the system (AP/Dickinson Press, 1/17).