Bush In 'Excellent' Health. American Indians: Not So Good.
Bush was given a clean bill of health in his annual physical today
. While plutocrat health is not in danger of declining any time soon, according to the CDC
American Indians and Alaska Natives born today have a life expectancy that is almost 6 years less than the U.S. all races population (70.6 years to 76.5 years, respectively; 1996-98 rates). American Indian and Alaska Native infants die at a rate of 8.9 per every 1,000 live births, as compared to 7.2 per 1,000 for the U.S. all races population (1996-98 rates).
How can a portion of our population have such drastically shorter lives than Americans as a whole? The accompanying health trends report
indicates that "[d]isease patterns among Indians are strongly associated with adverse consequences from poverty, limited access to health services, and cultural dislocation." Witness the disturbing patterns:
American Indians and Alaska Natives die at higher rates than other Americans from alcoholism (770%), tuberculosis (750%), diabetes (420%), accidents (280%), suicide (190%), and homicide (210%).
I guess the silver lining is that pretty much all of these causes are preventable. However, while I've been complaining about Iraqi water supply issues, look at what's going on in our own backyard:
Safe and adequate water supply and waste disposal facilities are lacking in approximately 7.5% of American Indian and Alaska Native homes, compared to 1% of the homes for the U.S. general population.
It's unconscionable that anybody in America would lack an adequate water supply. What's equally disturbing:
[Indian Health Service] appropriated funding provides only 59% of the necessary federal funding for providing mainstream personal health care services to American Indians and Alaska Natives...
A symptom of Bush budgetary policy. I guess "compassionate conservative" means that Bush is compassionate toward rich, white conservative Americans and not poor Native Americans. One more glaring reason we have to dump this guy in 2004.
PS--In the interest of full disclosure, the Vermont Abenaki have been critical of Howard Dean on the issue of tribal/civil rights
. I personally am unconvinced that tribal recognition and civil rights are related--it seems to me that people are conflating two different issues. I also think the Abenaki beef with Dean is unwarranted given the fact that a) tribal recognition is a federal issue, and b) our independently-elected Atty General is the one who has advised the Bureau of Indian Affairs as to the State's opinion on the matter. Dean has always appeared to be supportive of Abenaki culture and civil rights to me. Anyway, the linked VPR story is presented to provide a backstory and some balance. MB over at Wampum
probably can provide more perspective.