September 12, 2007

NATIVE AMERICAN HEALTH INITIATIVES ADVANCE

Finance Committee includes Crapo proposal for Office of Indian Men's Health

Washington, DC - The Senate Finance Committee today approved legislative language written on the federal delivery and funding of health services for Native Americans, including language in the underlying bill authored by Idaho Senator Mike Crapo, to establish an Office on Indian Men's Health. Crapo and other members of the Finance Committee completed mark-up of the Medicare, Medicaid and CHIP Indian Health Care Improvement Act of 2007.

"This legislation helps set goals for federal agencies assisting with Indian health programs, including programs to promote, train and place health care professionals at Native American facilities," Crapo said. "As is the case with all health programs, preventive actions can reduce the number of people who get sick or suffer advanced illnesses. That's why I am pleased the bill includes language that will facilitate modernization of disease prevention and behavioral health programs."

The portion of the bill addressed today in the Finance Committee included provisions to ensure Native American access to federal health programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and the CHIP (Children's Health Insurance Program). These programs are a significant source of funding for health care delivered to Indian people. Over the past decade, the Native American population has grown but federal funding has not kept pace: as a result, Medicare and Medicaid have played an increasingly important role.

The bill now must be considered by the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions before going to the full Senate.