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Senate markup on Indian Health Care Act
Monday, September 10, 2007
Filed Under: Health

The Senate Finance Committee will hold a markup on the Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP Indian Health Care Improvement Act on Wednesday.

Sen. Max Baucus (D-Montana), the chairman of the committee, says the bill will help improve health care on reservations. "Right now, the Indian Health Service and Tribal health care sites get less than sixty percent of the funds it actually takes to care for their patients. The Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP provisions we’re putting into the Indian health care bill will help Indian health providers get better reimbursement, connect more Native Americans with the health care services they need, and give Indian communities a greater voice in the Federal government’s handling of their health care," he said.

According to Baucus, the bill would:
• clarify how Medicaid, Medicare, and CHIP pay Indian health providers,
• increase outreach and enrollment of Indians in Medicaid and CHIP,
• clarify protections to keep Indians in Medicaid from being charged co-payments, deductibles, and fees improperly, and to keep Indian health providers from being reimbursed at lower rates due to fees charged by a contract health service
• protect Indian health providers from discrimination in payment for services,
• require States and the Secretary of Health and Human Services to consult with Indian health providers on the administration of programs that affect Tribal communities,
• allow certain Indian health providers more flexibility to provide transportation and other services to ensure the treatment of Indian patients in need,
• ensure Indian health providers are paid appropriately by Medicaid managed care organizations, and
• require the Secretary to report on Indian enrollment in federal programs and related matters on an annual basis.

The markup takes place at 10am Dirksen Senate Office Building Room 215. A copy of the bill can be found at http://finance.senate.gov/sitepages/leg/LEG%202007/Leg%20110%20091207Mark.pdf.

Later that day, the National Indian Health Board, National Congress of American Indians, National Council on Urban Indian Health, National Indian Education Association and the National Indian Housing Council will hold a rally at 1:30PM in the Lyndon B. Johnson Room of the U.S. Capitol Building. The goal is to build momentum for the Indian Health Care Improvement Act.

In addition to tribal leaders, Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-North Dakota), Sen. Max Baucus (D-Montana), Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Rep. Frank Pallone (D-New Jersey) and Sen. Jon Tester (D-Montana) are set to attend.

Indian Health Care Improvement Act Amendments:
H.R.1328 | S.1200

Relevant Documents:
Letter to President Bush | Letter to Alberto Gonzales | DOJ White Paper

Relevant Links:
Indian Health Service - http://www.ihs.gov
National Indian Health Board - http://www.nihb.org

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IHCIA reauthorization exchange on Senate floor (8/2)
Editorial: Indian health care a trust responsibility (7/31)
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