Native Americans Losers In AIDS Funding - Part 2
“In some ways, the Navajo AIDS Network needs the money more than Oakland,” said Marsha Martin, executive director of AIDS Action in Washington, D.C. which lobbies for HIV/AIDS program and policy.
“We might be able to prevent some things from happening on the reservations. We can only intervene in Oakland.”
The federal government spends about $16 billion on HIV/AIDS in the United States including $11 billion through Medicaid. Medicare and Social Security.
About $2 billion is allocated to the Ryan White CARE Act, designed to help people with AIDS who do not have adequate health insurance or other resources.
No one can say how much is spent directly on Native Americans but the money is focused on urban areas, not reservations.
“There hasn’t been enough money since the beginning,” Martin added. “Minorities are always on the short end of the budgeting” Indians are the smallest of minorities in the United States.
They are also the sickest from other diseases such as diabetes. And their health care, promised through treaties, is funded at less that half as much per person as that for federal prisoners.
Historically, health care for Indians came after the smallpox epidemics ravaging their populations in the 1800’s threatened to boomerang back into the Anglo population.
“Indians have been ignored since the beginning of the AIDS epidemic,” said Ron Powell, a Choctaw with a master’s degree in public health from UC-Berkeley.
Rowell was living in San Francisco in the early days of the AIDS epidemic. In Mid-1987, he and a small group of Native American doctors and nurses proposed an HIV/AIDS program in a letter they hand-delivered to the Indian Health Service in Rockville, MD.
Six months later they got a reply. ”Essentially it said, ‘We have received your unsolicited proposal. Thank you. IHS does not yet have an AIDS policy. When we do, we’ll evaluate your unsolicited proposal in light of that policy’.”
Rowell sees the lack of care for Native Americans with HIV as governmental negligence. “There is no commitment by the federal government whose responsibility it is. I think it is neglect.
“We remind them over and over about the treaties, the Constitution, U.S. history. It does not good. We don’t have the numbers. We don’t have the power.”
This column has been edited for content and length from a two part series on AIDS in the July 3rd and 4th editions of The Arizona Republic, bylined Judy Nichols.
SECTION: IN THE WHITE HOUSE AND AROUND TOWN
GOP Moves To Stunt Democratic Warnings On Voting Rights Acts
Submitted by Alyssa Macy
Administration and Republican congressional leaders are planning to push for anearly reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act this summer to quiet Democraticactivists who are suggesting to black voters that the GOP is threatening thehistoric 1965 legislation.
GOP officials this week cited statements from activists like Rep. Jesse Jackson and Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean warning about support for the reauthorization.
House leadership officials today pointed to a very late floor speech given by Speaker Dennis Hastert about the summer and fall agenda that included a mention of the act.
"Our work is far from done. Next month, we should complete work on conference reports on job creation bills like the Highway Bill and the Energy Bill as well as legislation dealing with CAFTA. We also plan to take up the Patriot Act, reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act and the taking of people's private property by the government. And soon, we will begin the steps of reforming Social Security for coming generations," said Hastert.
Officials said that the mention of the Voting Rights Act and the hoped-for passage two years before it is required was meant to stifle Democratic suggestions that the GOP is pushing an anti-black agenda. –
Bulletin exclusive from U.S. News – July 7th, 2005
Alyssa Macy Political DirectorCenter for Civic Participation 2105 First Avenue SouthMinneapolis, MN 55404Direct: 612-879-7510Fax: 612-870-48
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