While we cannot hold ourselves completely responsible for events that occurred before we were born, we can hold ourselves responsible for what happens within our lifetime. Indeed, we must.
Better medical care for Native American families is not a matter of self interest but of public interest and moral concern. The U.S. signed treaties promising perpetual health care to Native Americans in exchange for land or the laying down of arms. Our country must honor those promises.
While general health care for many Americans has continued to expand and modernize over the years, health care for Native Americans stopped expanding in 1992 when our government failed to reauthorize the Indian Health Care Improvement Act (HR 1328), thus failing the 1.8 million Native Americans it supports. Per person, the money spent on health care for Native Americans is less than half of that spent on federal prisoners.
We need to make passing HR 1328 a priority in the 111th Congress, pulling Native American health care out from the stone ages and demonstrating that we are a nation to venerate by honoring our promises.
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