Mullin calls for tribal hearing amid COVID-19 health disparities in Indian Country

Pictured: Representative Markwayne Mullin (R-OK-2). Mullin is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation and vice-chair of the Native American Caucus.(Photo by U.S. House Office of Photography)

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In certain areas of the country, American Indians are dying of COVID-19 significantly above their population share

News Release

Office of U.S. Representative Markwayne Mullin (R-OK-2)

Congressman Markwayne Mullin (OK-02) called on the Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee to hold a hearing on the health disparities affecting Indian Country during today’s hearing on the racial and ethnic disparities in the pandemic. Despite a request from Republicans, Democrats on the Committee declined to include a Native American witness.

“While I’m very happy we’re having these important discussions on health disparities, it’s very disappointing to me that we don’t have a Tribal witness here today,” Mullin said during the hearing. “Native Americans are disproportionally left out on these studies, on things moving forward and we’ve seen pockets breaking out on our reservations and parts of Indian country.

“This should be a bipartisan approach,” Mullin continued. “The Indian Health Service is greatly underfunded already and they’re extremely stressed with the COVID crisis going on.”

Full video of Mullin’s remarks can be found here. 

Background:

In certain areas of the country, American Indians are dying of COVID-19 significantly above their population share. Navajo Nation reservation has been reported as one of the “worst-of-the-worst” American hot spots. If tribal nations were states, the five states with the highest COVID-19 infection rates in the country would all be tribal nations.

Native Americans are three times more likely to have diabetes than any other racial or ethnic group in the United States and also have the highest rates of asthma. Those with chronic conditions, like diabetes and asthma, have a higher risk of developing serious complications from COVID-19.

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