Health Coverage and Care for American Indians and Alaska Natives

American Indians and Alaska Natives face persistent disparities in health and health care, including high uninsured rates, significant barriers to obtaining care, and poor health status. Treaties and laws establish the federal government’s responsibility to provide certain rights, protections, and services to American Indians and Alaska Natives, including health care. The Indian Health Service (IHS) is the primary vehicle through which the federal government provides health services to American Indians and Alaska Natives. However, chronic underfunding for IHS and other barriers limit access to care for the population. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) offers important opportunities to increase health coverage and care for American Indians and Alaska Natives and reduce the longstanding disparities they face. This brief provides an overview of health coverage and care for American Indians and Alaska Natives today and the potential implications of the ACA coverage expansions.

Population of focus: American Indians and Alaska Natives

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Date: 2013

Organization: Kaiser Family Foundation