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Native Americans in PA could affected by ACA

Written by The Associated Press | May 18, 2013 7:12 AM
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(State College) -- A provision in President Obama's health care overhaul could affect the health insurance coverage for thousands of Pennsylvanians who identify themselves as Native American.

The Affordable Care Act takes a narrow view of who is considered American Indian and can avoid the tax penalty, which will reach a minimum of $695 when fully phased in.

It limits the definition to those who can document their membership in one of about 560 federally-recognized tribes.

Yet more than 100 tribes nationwide are recognized only by states.

Pennsylvania has an American Indian population of about 81,000, less than one percent of the state's total population.

The census found 6.2 million people nationwide who self-identify as American Indian. Health advocacy groups estimate about 480,000 people could be affected by the change.

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