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Tribal group lauds high court's health care ruling

Associated Press Published: June 28, 2012
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A national tribal advocacy group is praising the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling that essentially upholds President Barack Obama's health care overhaul.

The National Congress of American Indians says Thursday's ruling affirms the permanent reauthorization of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act that passed with Obama's Affordable Care Act.

NCAI President Jefferson Keel says the decision is an important step for Indian Country. According to the organization, American Indians and Alaska Natives have disproportionately high rates of health problems, including heart disease, diabetes and substance abuse.

The Indian Health Care Improvement Act authorizes new and expanded efforts to improve the health of indigenous people, including programs addressing health professional shortages, dialysis services, urban Indian health, Indian veterans and behavioral health.

The health care improvement act was last reauthorized in 2000.