Native American Healthcare

Improving Native American Health Outcomes

Native Americans experience higher rates of health problems than the general American population and other racial minority groups. At least two causes are behind these poorer health outcomes: the Indian Health Service (IHS) has struggled with underfunding and bureaucratic shortcomings, and pervasive poverty that many Native Americans experience has contributed to poor health outcomes.

Increasing the IHS's funding is an immediate and practical solution for delivering more healthcare to more individuals. Additionally, we suggest several reforms to the IHS, including new funding allocation policies, implementing better means of accountability, removing barriers to healthcare innovation, and increasing access to willing healthcare providers.

Reducing poverty will require the removal of barriers to economic development and innovation for Native Americans. Our reform suggestions include the streamlining of the federal land trust system, removing unproductive red tape, separating tribal politics from tribal business decisions, and reducing legal uncertainty when ambiguity exists.

Research Paper
Native American Healthcare, Bureaucracy, and Poverty: Institutional Problems and Solutions

By: Jordan Lofthouse and Kelcie McKinley

Policy Briefs
Improving Accountability and Performance in the Indian Health Service

By: Jordan Lofthouse

Perhaps the best and most effective policy recommendation to improve the Indian Health Service is to better align the incentives of IHS employees at every level with the interests of Native Americans. The incentives that individual employees face must also align with the goals of the agency. Continue reading >>

Increasing Funding for the Indian Health Service to Improve Native American Health Outcomes

By: Jordan Lofthouse

Increasing the Indian Health Service's funding or changing the system of appropriations are only small steps in improving Native American health outcomes. Policymakers can set the stage for Native Americans to flourish by increasing IHS funding, reforming IHS policies, and removing barriers to entrepreneurship and innovation. Continue reading >>

Increasing the Supply of Healthcare for Native Americans

By: Jordan Lofthouse

The supply of willing and qualified healthcare professionals is artificially restricted because of current policies. Federal, state, and tribal policymakers could help reduce this artificial scarcity in at least two ways: allow nonphysician healthcare providers to practice and allow international medical school graduates to be employed in the Indian Health Service system. Continue reading >>

Reducing Poverty to Improve Native American Health Outcomes

By: Jordan Lofthouse

Institutional problems demand institutional solutions. Although reservations face institutional barriers to entrepreneurship and economic growth, many tribal and federal leaders are aware of the problems. Continue reading >>

Expert Commentary
Alleviating Poverty Among Native Americans Will Improve Health Outcomes

By: Jordan Lofthouse

Native American Reservations and COVID-19

By: Jordan Lofthouse



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