Published February 17, 2017
Discussion focuses on the impact of ACA Repeal on tribal communities
WASHINGTON– Today, Rep. Raul Ruiz, M.D. (CA-36) hosted a roundtable with Rep. Frank Pallone, Ranking Member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, and more than 30 tribal leaders to discuss the impacts of repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on the American Indian community.
“Repealing the Affordable Care Act, eliminating the Medicaid expansion, and yanking away improvements it made to the Native American health care delivery system would have dire effects on tribal communities across the country,” said Dr. Ruiz. “Rather than cutting funding, we should be investing more in the Indian Health Service (IHS), which provides critical access to health care through tribal clinics, mental health programs, and specialty care for Native American veterans. What’s more, without the ACA tribes could lose the ability to control their own health care systems. This is unacceptable and I will continue to fight to ensure the federal government is fulfilling its trust responsibilities to provide for the health and well-being of our first people.”
“Without the Affordable Care Act, the spending disparity for Indian Health Service patients will become worse. We have come too far and made too much progress to go backward. Congressional Democrats are committed to defending the ACA and the HIS, as well as continuing to close the health disparity gaps that acutely afflict American Indian and Alaska Native communities across the country,”said Ranking Member Pallone.
The Affordable Care Act provides many critical improvements for Native American health care, including the permanent reauthorization of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act and the Medicaid expansion, which ensures access for thousands of tribal members enrolled in the program. The ACA expanded coverage for more than 500,000 Native Americans, and ensures tribal patients receive critical surgeries and life-saving preventive care.
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