Well-Being Prevention & Cures

Navajo Nation to create first Native American health care

navajo nation healthcare indian native american arizona medicaid

Story at a glance

  • The Navajo Nation announced yesterday it is starting a partnership for a Native American health care system.
  • Dissatisfaction and affordability were two factors that motivated the Nation to partner with contractor Molina Healthcare.
  • Given the health and death disparity between Native Americans and other populations in the U.S., expanded health care options are much needed.

On Wednesday, the Navajo Nation announced its plan to create a proprietary Native American health care system.  

In partnership with the government health care contractor Molina Healthcare, the Naat’aanii Development Corporation — the business arm of the Navajo government — worked to expedite a bill that would establish a health care system under New Mexico Medicaid, according to an AP report

This collaboration would help make the costs of health care more affordable for approximately 75,000 Native Americans who are eligible. 

With a national epidemic of poor mental and physical health among Native Americans, including high risks of heart disease, assault, liver disease, and infant mortality rates, Navajos reportedly tend to receive lower rates of care and have worse outcomes than the usual Medicaid population. 

This collaboration aims to improve access to government-subsidized medical treatment. 

Daniel Tso, a National Navajo Council delegate, stated that the new Medicaid access for Navajos “will be a one-of-a-kind Medicaid program.” 

New Mexico government health officials stated that the proposed infrastructure could generate up to $468 million if 50,000 people from the Navajo nation enroll.