American Indians receiving 'substandard' healthcare

In a sad, but all too true case of healthcare negligence in the United States, the Associated Press reports that the Indian Health Service System's level of care for it's 2 million patients in 35 states is "grossly substandard" a good portion of the time. Among other reportable statistics, death rates for American Indian infants were found to be 40 percent higher than their white counterparts.

Many qualified American Indians don't apply for services such as Medicare and Medicaid because they don't have access to the sign-up process, says the Associated Press. A lack of federal dollars also is a big reason for the poor health statistics of American Indians; Congress approved a budget of $3.6 billion for the Indian Health Service System for this year, not nearly enough to attract top-tier doctors, or purchase top-of-the-line equipment.

Heck, even inmates in federal prison have it better when it comes to healthcare: 2005 data points out that one-third more is spent, per capita, on the healthcare of felons in federal prison than on healthcare for reservations. While Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND) has attempted to bring this issue to light, he has not had any luck getting any legislation passed. Furthermore, a problem of political "clout" exists: Ron His Horse is Thunder, chairman of the Standing Rock tribe, pointed out to the Associated Press that his tribe is "not one congruent voting bloc in any one state or area."

To learn more about this healthcare problem:
- read this Associated Press article