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Capitol Hill Watch | Lawmakers, American Indian Health Officials Call For Budget Increase To Indian Health Service's Contracting Program

Inadequate funding to the annual budget for the Indian Health Service's Contract Health Service program is restricting access to essential health care services for American Indian patients, lawmakers and witnesses said on Thursday at a Senate Committee on Indian Affairs hearing, CQ HealthBeat reports.

The CHS program purchases health care services from non-IHS providers for IHS beneficiaries when care from an IHS facility is not available. Committee Chair Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) and witnesses, which included state health care administrators and tribal health care officials, said the current budget of $579 million for the CHS program should be more than doubled to $1.3 billion. Dorgan said, "We must fully fund, we must adequately fund and we must make Contract Health Service work."


How Many Are Underinsured? Trends Among U.S. Adults, 2003 and 2007

In the Literature

The number of underinsured U.S. adults—that is, people who have health coverage that does not adequately protect them from high medical expenses—has risen dramatically, a Commonwealth Fund study finds. As of 2007, there were an estimated 25 million underinsured adults in the United States, up 60 percent from 2003.

Much of this growth comes from the ranks of the middle class. While low-income people remain vulnerable, middle-income families have been hit hardest. For adults with incomes above 200 percent of the federal poverty level (about $40,000 per year for a family), the underinsured rates nearly tripled since 2003.


Uninsured Young Adults: A Profile and Overview of Coverage Options

Young adults aged 19-29 have the highest uninsured rate of any group. Coverage received through a parent's private plan or through a public program typically terminates when an individual turns 19 years old. Many of these young adults have entry-level, low-wage and temporary jobs that often do not offer health coverage and public coverage options for low-income young adults are very limited. Since 29% of the uninsured are young adults, efforts to decrease the overall number of uninsured must address this population.





Raising Women's Voices (RWV) is developing a policy framework with principles for creating a health care system that meets the health care needs of women and our families. The Framework is based on a vision of health care articulated by women. We are also developing a Tool Kit to use in our work mobilizing and engaging women leaders from diverse constituencies in health care reform at the local, state and national levels.

Check out our resources page;

A Woman's Vision for Quality, Affordable Health Care for All

We support quality,affordable health care for all-and we are working to raise women's voices for the health care we need. Our goal is to engage a broad array of women's health and reproductive justice advocates in local,state and national health reform discussions. We want to ensure that women's concerns will be addressed and the health care we get will truly be health care for all.

Women have much at stake in the debates over health care. The U.S. health care system has consistently failed to provide needed care for many women. It has also created tremendous challenges for the women who coordinate health care for their families, as well as for the many women who comprise the majority of health care workers in the U.S.

Raising Women's Voices and our community partners have talked with women about their experiences with the health care system and, based on those experiences, what changes they would like to see. Their thoughtful answers have informed the principles of our vision for health care.

"It's time to rev up the women's health movement again. Health care for all is our issue. We're the ones who have to make it happen."~Byllye Avery, founder, Black Women's Health Imperative
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