American Indian Health Care Coverage

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American Indian Health Care Coverage
The history of the American Indians after the European invasion of the New World is not a pleasant topic. Everyone wants to believe the stories that are told about Squanto, the Pilgrims and the harmony of the first Thanksgiving and then skip the next three hundred years of oppression and racism. Unfortunately, the next three hundred years happened and by the 20th century most Indian tribes as well as their traditional ways of life, had been extinguished. Despite the widespread destruction of the American Indian, many still survive. In an attempt to provide some sort of compensation the federal government of the United States has a special health care system set up for American Indian descendants. However, problems with the system have existed since it was established and many critics believe it is not enough.
In 1787 the United States Constitution Article 1 section 8 established a federally mandated relationship between the government and the people of Indian Nations in regards to commerce. Although this agreement and many treaties subsequently thereafter were disregarded on the part of the United States (Smith, 2002), it established an official responsibility between the two nations. In 1921 the Snyder Act, which established authorization for the federal government to provide basic healthcare for members of federally recognized United States Indian tribes, was passed (Wallechinsky, 2010).
In 1954 another landmark act was passed in which all functions relating to the health and maintenance of healthcare to Indian Nations was given to the Surgeon General of the United States Public Health System (Wallechinsky). Within a year 48 hospitals, 18 health centers and 13 school infirmaries had been ...

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... of care the IHS provides for Indians living in urban areas, which is estimated to be around 30 percent (Urban Indian Health Institute).
The availability of care for Native Americans is certainly an admirable goal. There have been many efforts to take responsibility for the oppression that has occurred for centuries. Along with education, clean, safe medical care can provide children with the bet start in life, especially in situations of widespread poverty. All these noble aspirations aside however, all you have to do is speak with the overworked, underpaid physician trying to run a clinic in a rural area with half the budget to adequately take care of all patients, and the consequences of underfunding become painfully apparent. If politicians believe this is a system that should be emulated (Trahant) the future of American health care has a frightening outlook.
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