American Indian Health Care Coverage Essay

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American Indian Health Care Coverage
The history of the American Indians after the European invasion of the New World is not a pleasant topic. Everyone wants to believe the stories that are told about Squanto, the Pilgrims and the harmony of the first Thanksgiving and then skip the next three hundred years of oppression and racism. Unfortunately, the next three hundred years happened and by the 20th century most Indian tribes as well as their traditional ways of life, had been extinguished. Despite the widespread destruction of the American Indian, many still survive. In an attempt to provide some sort of compensation the federal government of the United States has a special health care system set up for American Indian descendants. …show more content…

Stemming from the Constitution, to be considered eligible for this health care, a person must be a member of one of the 557 federally recognized tribes. In 2008 the budget for this program was 3.5 billion dollars. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2008 created a special allowance for members of a federally recognized tribe, exempting them for the insurance mandate. Members who decide they would like to purchase health insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace are also able to do so at any time, they are not limited the annual enrollment period (Newkirk, 2014). If a member of a federally recognized tribe does purchase health insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace they are exempt from cost-sharing measures such as co-pays and deductibles as long as their income level does not equal more then 300 percent of the federal poverty level (Newkirk). In 1976 the Indian Healthcare Improvement Act was passed. This act was meant to improve the quality of medical care available to American Indians, as well as lessen the life expectant gap for American Indians and Alaskan Natives relative to the rest of the United States. At the time the act was established, that gap was over 20 years different between the two groups. In 2001 this act expired and was not reestablished until 2009 when it was “rolled into the Affordable Care Act and made permanent” (Trahant, 2012) Many politicians

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