Health reforms penalize some Indians
- When Liz DeRouen needs any kind of health care services, from diabetes counseling to a dental cleaning, she checks into a government-funded clinic in Northern California's wine country that covers all her medical needs.
Her care and the medical services for her children and grandchildren are paid for as part of the government's treaty obligations to American Indian tribes dating back nearly a century. But under President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, DeRouen and tens of thousands of others who identify as Native American will face a new reality.
They will have to buy their own health insurance policies or pay a $695 fine from the Internal Revenue Service unless they can prove that they are "Indian enough" to claim one of the few exemptions allowed under the Affordable Care Act's mandate that all Americans carry insurance.
"I'm no less Indian than I was yesterday, and just because the definition of who is Indian got changed in the law doesn't mean that it's fair for people to be penalized," said DeRouen, a former tribal administrator for the Dry Creek Rancheria Band of Pomo Indians who lost her membership amid a leadership dispute in 2009. "If I suddenly have to pay for my own health insurance to avoid the fine, I won't be able to afford it."
Click the link below to read the rest of the article, use your back button to return to this page:
Material appearing here is distributed without profit or monitory gain to those who have expressed an interest in receiving the material for research and educational purposes. This is in accordance with Title 17 U. S. C. section 107..