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Health reform gap for Native Americans may affect few Utahns
Affordable Care Act » Most of state’s American Indians are enrolled in recognized tribes, won’t face tax penalty.

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The Northwestern Band enrolls anyone who can prove that at least one great-grandparent was a member of the tribe. That equates to a one-eighth blood tie to the tribe.

Walker said it’s possible the insurance mandate will trigger a surge in applications for membership as people seek the exemption for American Indians.

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Shawn Jimerson, development director for the Urban Indian Center of Salt Lake, agrees. The center does not provide care directly, but refers American Indians to community services. In any given year, "We probably get 100 or so inquiries from individuals who aren’t enrolled in a tribe," but believe they qualify, he said. "We refer them to start the enrollment process."

Tribune reporter Kristen Moulton and Associated Press reporter Garance Burke contributed to this story.

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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