Sunday, April 9, 2017

Declining Population

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the Tohono O'odham population with residency on Indian reservations dropped by 5%. Comparatively, reservation resident populations dropped 1% throughout Arizona, while the total population of Arizona grew by 25% over that same period. Furthermore, rural districts of all Tohono O'odham lands were the ones seeing growth while historical population centers on TO reservation lands have been experiencing the brunt of the emigration (nominally as well as relative rates). Considering the incredible influx of non-Indian residents into the state of Arizona, I wonder how government aid programs will respond to the per capita demands of non-Indian vs. Indian need. For example, what changes will have to be made to Arizona's funding of medical programs? If they don't distinguish between demographics, will that cause the overall per-capita budget for healthcare funding to drop? What if they do distinguish? Would subjective overhaul of medical programs lead to issues like type II diabetes receiving less coverage? What effect would the high rate of alcoholism play within the reservation?

I doubt healthcare funding would take any approach that bases per-capita funding strictly on income or some form of economic importance. However, I don't think it would be absurd for healthcare programs to begin restricting funding for preventable health issues (you know, like type II diabetes, alcoholism...). The largest issue is that these preventable healthcare issues, which will likely see budget cuts with the aging population (baby-boomers), are a predominant outcome of poverty. Therefore, to what degree would the TO see healthcare costs increase for issues inherently related to their poverty? It may seem wrong to subjectively cut funding for issues related to poverty, but I doubt many think the man with the bar room tan should get a state-funded liver transplant either.

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