Raising Women’s Voices

American Indian Health Care Improvement Act Not Reauthorized by Congress — Looking ahead

Posted in Uncategorized by raisingwomensvoices on December 9, 2008

The bill, which has been approved by the Senate, would allocate $35 billion over the next ten years to American Indian and Alaska Native health care programs.  The funds would go toward new and modernized health clinics on reservations, increased tribal access to medicare and medicaid, and greater access to screening services and mental health care.

“Despite the Senate’s reauthorization of the bill in February, the House has had several failed attempts to move the bill forward. In September, the National Indian Health Board (NIHB) attempted several legislative strategies to get the bill passed in the House. The NIHB first tried to attach the bill to a Continuing Resolution (HR 2638), and then tried to move forward smaller parts (Title II) of HR 1328—including amendments that would have improved access to Medicare, Medicaid, and SCHIP—as a stand-alone bill. Congress was also unable to fund the modified bill. The NIHB will continue to push for this legislation with the commencement of the 111th Congress in January.”

Advocates and the Senate Indian Affairs Committee Chair Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) will continue to work for the passage of the bill during the 111th Congress, and are optimistic that Obama will be a “more aggressive advocate” for Indian affairs, considering his heavy campaigning in Indian Country and his support for increased funding to Indian Health Services.

For the Kaiser Health Disparities Report on this issue.

For Senator Dorgan’s article in Indian Country Today.

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