Health | Opinion

Opinion: Affordable Care Act already benefits Indian Country

Charles Headdress, a council member for the Fort Peck Tribes, and Dr. William McGregor discuss the benefits of the Affordable Care Act in Indian Country:
For many Americans, the jury’s still out on Obamacare.

Its impact on any one person will depend on many factors: Young or old, rural or urban, healthy or sick, rich or poor, and even where you work – a large corporation or a mom and pop restaurant.

But for our nation’s First People, those facing some of our country’s most serious health disparities, the sweeping Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is clearly a step in the right direction.

Signed into law by President Barack Obama on March 23, 2010, the ACA is landmark legislation for Indian Country. It permanently reauthorizes the Indian Health Care Improvement Act, the cornerstone for the provision of health care to American Indians and Alaska Natives. This gives Indian Health Services the resources and authority to modernize its health care delivery system and enhance recruitment and retention of providers. Among other improvements, the IHS will establish a Community Health Representative program for urban Indian organizations to train and employ Indians to provide health care services.

In addition to making permanent the IHCIA, the ACA contains significant help for individual tribal members. ObamaCare, as the ACA is more commonly known, opens the door for tribal members to seek health care outside the strained Indian Health Service network.

Get the Story:
Charles Headdress and Dr. William McGregor: Native Americans can benefit from the Affordable Care Act (The Great Falls Tribune 9/29)

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