Victims' Rights Caucus

Speeches

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Madam Speaker, government-run health care leads to doctor shortages, rationing of services and long waiting lines. The United States Government has been trying to run health care for the American Indians for over 200 years. And it is a miserable failure. It has resulted in medical malpractice against Native American Indians.

Over the last two centuries, Members of Congress have spoken out about the way Indians are treated by the Federal Government. Among those outspoken critics include David Crockett and Sam Houston. The prime example of mistreatment today is the government-run health care for Native Americans.

In 1787, the Federal Government agreed to provide for the health, safety and well-being of Indian tribes on reservations in exchange for over 450 million acres of land. The United States Government has been running Indian health care ever since.

The Indian Health Services is part of the Department of Health and Human Services. They took over the Indian health care in 1954 from the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Now, Indian Health Services oversee medical care for about 2 million American Indians and Alaskan Eskimos in 35 States.

Last week, I talked about just a few of the tense tragic stories of some of the victims of this U.S. Government-run health care system. Like Ta'Shon Rain Little Light, the little girl who went to an Indian Health Service clinic in Montana. The doctor said Ta'Shon was just depressed. But she kept complaining to her mom that her stomach hurt and stopped eating and drinking. After going back to the same clinic 10 more times, her lung collapsed. She was then airlifted to a private children's hospital, where she was diagnosed with terminal stomach cancer. She died a few days later. Ta'Shon Rain Little Light was 5 years of age.

Rhonda Sandland lives on the Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota. She had to threaten to kill herself to finally get treatment for severe frostbite on her fingers. The government health care providers wanted to cut off all of her fingers. A private doctor happened to stop by on the reservation and prevented the amputation. Instead, he prescribed the medicine that took care of the problem.

And then there is Victor Brave Thunder who had congestive heart failure. The clinic at Standing Rock gave him Tylenol and cough syrup and sent him home. He died of a heart attack a few weeks later. Then there's Harriet Archambault who died when her hypertension medicine ran out. She tried five times to get an appointment to get her medicine refilled. She never got to see a doctor before she died.

These are not isolated incidents.

The Cheyenne River Sioux tribal officials have held hearings on their South Dakota reservation to document conditions at the Eagle Butte Indian Health Services hospital. Betty Crowe worked at the reservation hospital for years. Betty said all they could do most of the time was hand out painkillers. Others testified at that hearing that people who had appendix problems were given pain medicine and sent home until their appendix burst. Betty's own son had leukemia. He used to get his leukemia medicine through his wife's private insurance, but then he got a divorce and he lost that insurance. He couldn't pay for it by himself. And Betty said that the bureaucrats at the Butte Indian Health Services hospital wouldn't allow him to get the leukemia medicine from the Federal Government.