Sen. Dorgan Says He Will Introduce Legislation Aimed at Improving Health of American Indians
Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) on Thursday said that when Congress reconvenes he plans to bring up legislation that would address American Indian health care, KFYR-TV reports. His legislation would provide grants to American Indian reservations and help establish programs to provide long-term health services to American Indians.
Dorgan this week held a public meeting with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in Fort Yates, N.D., to discuss health care problems tribal members face, including the access to and the cost of care.
"We've got to provide decent health care to the first Americans. We promised them, and the requirement to provide health care is in treaties. This is not something someone made up. It's in the treaties and these tribal governments are trying very hard to get the kind of health care they need for their tribal members," Dorgan said.
He added that Congress is working on changing the Indian Health Care Improvement Act to "[d]ramatically improve the delivery of health care to Native Americans" (KFYR-TV, 1/3).
The House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee in November voted to approve legislation (HR 1328) that would extend the Indian Health Care Improvement Act through fiscal year 2017 (Kaiser Health Disparities Report, 11/8/07). In September 2007, the Senate Finance Committee by voice vote approved a separate bill (S 1200) that also would revise and reauthorize the Indian Health Care Improvement Act through 2017 (Kaiser Health Disparities Report, 9/13/07).