October 30, 2019

Chairman Takano: “Native veterans must be a priority VA-wide”

Press Contact


Jenni Geurink (202-225-9756)

Miguel R. Salazar

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Mark Takano (CA-41) delivered remarks before the Subcommittee on Health’s oversight hearing entitled “Native Veterans’ Access to Healthcare. Here is a video of Chairman Takano’s opening statement and his remarks as prepared below:

10-30-2019 Hearing

Subcommittee on Health Congresswoman Brownley meets with tribal leaders and their representatives.

Good Morning. I want to thank Chairwoman Brownley for holding this important hearing.

And I want to thank our witnesses from the National Indian Health Board, the National Congress of American Indians, the National Council on Urban Indian Health, the Alaska Native Health Board and the IHS Tribal Self-Governance Advisory Committee. And to those of you who served, thank you for your service.

It is critical this subcommittee hears your voices and the voices of the tribal members you represent. While we know Native Americans serve at higher rates than anyone else they also endure the lowest health status of anyone else.

This is a national shame, and a terrible violation of the trust responsibility the United States government is obligated to uphold. We must do better.

VA must do more to ensure the goal of “improving the health status of American Indian and Alaska Native Veterans” is accomplished. I am disappointed to see Dr. Stone is not here. And while I commend the work of the program offices here to testify, I know the needs of all Native veterans cannot be met by these three program offices alone. This must be a priority VA-wide.

Again, I can’t thank you enough for sharing your time with us. And I assure you, as part of my VA 2030 vision this committee is dedicated to ensuring marginalized veterans are receiving access to the healthcare and benefits, they have earned.  This is just the beginning of this committee’s work on these issues.