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VIDEO: Udall on Senate Floor ... ACA Repeal Would Devastate Health Care For Indian Country

on September 29, 2017 - 7:52am
U.S. Sen. Tom Udall
WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Tom Udall, vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, denounced the devastating impact Senate Republicans' efforts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act (ACA) would have on Indian Country.
In remarks Sept. 26 on the Senate floor, Udall said repeal of the ACA and Medicaid expansion would be disastrous for Indian Country and violate the government's trust and treaty obligation to ensure Native Americans receive quality health care. He and Senate Indian Affairs Committee Democrats Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) gave back-to-back speeches in what is known as a “colloquy.”
Before the ACA, Udall said, "Don’t get sick after June' was a familiar refrain on many reservations, pueblos and villages. Limited funding meant medical services were often rationed to emergency care or 'life and limb' only." He noted that Native organizations describe the ACA and Medicaid expansion as an “unqualified success“ for Indian Country. Udall continued, “The ACA has brought new hope to Native families and communities."
But the latest version of Trumpcare, sponsored by U.S. Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.), would have violated the federal government's trust and treaty responsibility by gutting the ACA and taking away health care from hundreds of thousands of Native Americans, Udall said.
“It is difficult to adequately describe the recklessness, cruelty, and cynicism apparent in the Republicans’ rush to tear down the ACA," Udall said, urging Senate Republicans to stop the attacks on the ACA and work with Democrats on bipartisan solutions to improve health care across Indian Country. "Partisan repeal of the ACA is not right for Indian Country or for America."