Petition 80571

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Health Care for Native Americans in the US (80571-C2-R134)

Amend Resolution 134  
WHEREAS, Native Americans are the most socio-economically deprived minority group in the United States ; and . The poverty level for children on reservations is more than twice the national average and unemployment rates are three times that of other Americans.  1 <>   Health statistics are consistent with this: in January 2006, Native Americans had 7 times the rate of tuberculosis, 6 times the rate of alcoholism, nearly three times the rate of diabetes, and a 62% higher rate of suicide than the American population as a whole.  2  <>
Matthew 25:36b says “I was sick and you took care of me.”
WHEREAS, T t he United States government is bound by treaty to provide health care for all Native Americans ; and . In exchange for millions of acres of land, the United States Government obligated itself to provide medical and health care services to members of the Tribes with whom they wrote treaties.  
WHEREAS, t The United States government now provides these medical services through Indian Health Services, United States Public Health Service, Department of Health and Human Services ; and . to 1.5 million American Indian/Native Americans who belong to more than 557 federally recognized Tribes in 35 states.  3  <>
1 Patricia Wilson, Reuters, September 4, 1997, 2 Catherine Komb, “Congress, President, Still Ignoring Obligation to Indian Health Care, The New Standard, July 14, 2006; Peninsula Peace and Justice Center,  

WHEREAS, medical services currently provided by the Indian Health Services for health education and prenatal care have contributed to a rapid decline in infant mortality among Native Americans; and
 Since the establishment of the Indian Health Service, infant mortality in the population it serves has been reduced by more than 80% through the “provision of safe drinking water, nearly universal immunization of Indian children, and emphasis on comprehensive, community-oriented programs focused on maternal and child care.”  4  <>
WHEREAS, similar successes of these health programs are likely to have occurred for all Native Americans living in the United States; and
WHEREAS, D d espite these successes, the federal government’s legislative and executive branches frequently is constantly threaten ing to reduce funding for the cut the Indian Health Services Program. ; and
WHEREAS, A a ny funding cuts could severely curtail or cancel health care for a large number of eligible Native Americans ; and
4 E. R. Rhoades, et al, Mortality of American Indian and Alaska Native infants, Annual Review of Public Health, 1992;13:269-85.  

, Only a small number of Native Americans can afford to buy private health  
insurance, and even so, such insurance has the grave defect of absence of a large  
enough risk pool to spread the risk of costly serious illnesses.
Our Christian faith calls on all to support the poor; Psalm 8:18 – For the needy shall not always be forgotten, nor the hope of the poor perish forever.  
Therefore, be it resolved , Therefore, for all Native Americans, the United Methodist Church supports  for that all Native Americans have access to adequate medical services to ensure a balance of physical, mental, and spiritual well-being for the "Journey Toward Wholeness"; and asks that the United States Congress increase rather than allows no decrease in federal funds to operate Indian health facilities.  
Be it further resolved, that T t he General Board of Church and Society will submit this resolution, on behalf of the General Conference, to all United States senators and legislators who have Indian Health Services within their respective state.