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Native Americans And Healthcare In The United States

Updated on May 29, 2014

The First Americans

In the United States, the first Americans have not had the best experiences with healthcare. After numerous federally funded programs were set in place with the intended purpose of helping Native Americans, those programs more often than not have failed.

Even though the IHS is set in place to provide Native Americans with free health care, it too has its issues and “while the IHS is here to stay and will be available as their healthcare system, the Affordable Care Act brings new options for health coverage” (Roubideaux, 2013).


Less Access To Healthcare

Out of the total U.S. population, Native Americans have less access to healthcare. While they can receive free healthcare from Indian health facilities, these facilities do not have many of the same services as other healthcare options that are provided to the rest of the U.S. population, such as cancer care treatments or major surgeries.

When Native Americans need such treatments that are not available at Indian health facilities, they are forced to seek outside attention from health facilities that are not covered by their free federally funded healthcare.

As a result, many Native Americans cannot afford these services and go without being treated, which is one reason why Native Americans have the poorest health out of the entire U.S. population.


Affordable Care Act

There is still a hot debate about healthcare in this country, and now that President Obama’s Affordable Care Act is underway, Native Americans have an opportunity to receive the services that were not available to tribal facilities before.

While many Americans will face a fine if they do not have health insurance next year, Native Americans are exempt “from paying a penalty if they choose not to purchase insurance” (Vestal, 2013).

The main step now is to see if Native Americans will want to purchase this discounted health insurance because the idea of buying healthcare is still not well received.


© 2014 LaniseBrown


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