indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+ indianz.com on soundcloud
phone: 202 630 8439
Fredericks Peebles & Morgan LLP
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines
Print   Subscribe
Indian Country rallies for health care in U.S. Capitol
Thursday, September 13, 2007
Filed Under: Health | National | Politics

More than 100 tribal leaders and tribal members packed the halls of Congress on Wednesday to rally for the Indian Health Care Improvement Act.

The law expired in 2000 and has been met repeatedly with opposition from the Bush administration. But supporters hoped they will finally see success this year with the help of key lawmakers.

"The time to pass the IHCIA is now," said H. Sally Smith, the chairman of the National Indian Health Board, one of the many groups behind yesterday's strong showing on Capitol Hill.

Smith and other tribal leaders were joined by Congressional backers at a raucous rally in the U.S. Capitol Building. Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-North Dakota), Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-New Mexico), Sen. Max Baucus (D-Montana), Sen. Jon Tester (D-Montana) and Rep. Frank Pallone (D-New Jersey) vowed to move the IHCIA reauthorization.

"We will pass this bill if it's the last thing we do," said Inouye to loud applause.

The rally followed the Senate Finance Committee's approval of the Medicare, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) portions of the bill. Baucus, the chairman of the committee, said passage was long overdue.

"We owe the first inhabitants of this nation better access to quality health care," he said at the markup yesterday morning. "We owe them medical care consistent with the medical care found in mainstream hospitals and clinics. We owe them the same medical care that we provide to the other members of our family."

The action by the Finance committee means S.1200 can receive a floor vote. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) has promised to schedule debate.

But the bill still faces opposition from the Bush administration and from Republicans who closely follow the White House. Last fall, a small group of GOP Senators blocked the reauthorization on the eve of passage based on a "white paper" written by the Department of Justice.

The administration has again outlined its concerns with the bill and delivered a written statement to the Finance committee at 10:30pm on Tuesday night, Baucus said. Members of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, which previously approved the bill, said yesterday they had yet to review the document.

Over in the House, the Natural Resources Committee has approved H.R.1328. But the Ways and Means Committee and the Energy and Commerce Committee have yet to report out the bill.

Tribal advocates believe it is critical for the bill to be approved this year. If it is delayed until 2008, it will be overshadowed by the presidential election, they say.

"For more than 14 years, Congress has failed to reauthorize the Indian Health Care Improvement Act and complete a comprehensive review and modernization of Native American health care. This is simply unacceptable," said Sen. Barack Obama (D-Illinois), a presidential hopeful and one of the co-sponsors of the bill.

In hopes of securing passage, the NIHB, the National Congress of American Indians, the National Council of Urban Indian Health and even the National Indian Gaming Association have made the IHCIA their top legislative priority. "Indian Country simply can't wait any longer for this legislation to be reauthorized," said NCAI President Joe Garcia.

IHCIA modernizes the way health care is delivered to American Indians and Alaska Natives. Among other provisions, it gives tribes more flexibility to address the needs of their individual communities.

IHCIA was first passed in 1976 and was reauthorized in 1992. Tribal leaders have been working on the current bill since the late 1990s.

Finance Committee Documents:
Markup | Press Release | Open Executive Session to consider the “The Medicare, Medicaid and SCHIP Indian Health Care Improvement Act of 2007” (September 12, 2007)

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

Related Stories:
Indian health care markup, rally in Washington (9/12)
Senate markup on Indian Health Care Act (9/10)
IHCIA pushed as Congress returns from break (9/5)
Rally for Indian health set in DC for September 12 (9/4)
Wild horses get more money than IHS hospital (08/16)
Senate field hearing on Indian health in Montana (8/15)
Senate field hearing on health this Wednesday (8/13)
IHCIA reauthorization exchange on Senate floor (8/2)
Editorial: Indian health care a trust responsibility (7/31)
IHS suffers from long waits, inadequate funding (7/30)
White House changed testimony on trust (7/27)
IHS slow to resolve problems under Grim (7/26)
Senate confirmation hearing for Dr. Grim of IHS (7/26)
Pill 'epidemic' strikes reservations in Montana (7/23)
Senate Indian Affairs Committee renews focus (7/20)
Direct Service Tribes discuss IHS in Denver (06/27)
Emergency room at IHS facility fails inspection (05/09)
Indian Health Care Act introduced in Senate (05/02)
California tribes seek bigger share of health funding (5/1)
Belcourt: Indian Country takes path of healthy living (4/30)
House committee approves Indian health care bill (4/26)
Montana and Wyoming tribes host health conference (04/06)
Montana lawmaker presses for health care funding (4/5)
Opinion: U.S. failing to provide Indian health care (3/22)
Kara Briggs: The fight to reauthorize IHCIA (3/21)
Urban Indians hurt by IHS policy in Montana (3/20)
Health care push continues at House hearing (3/19)
DOJ's Indian white paper a political whodunit (3/14)
House hearing on Indian Health Care Improvement (3/14)
Urban Indians under attack over health care (3/12)
Fireworks at Indian health care hearing (3/9)
Senate hearing on Indian Health reauthorization (3/8)
Urban Indians in New Mexico feel left out on health (3/8)
Some urban Indians denied care at request of IHS (3/8)
Indian Health Care Act introduced in House (3/7)
Hearings on Indian Health Care Improvement Act (3/5)
Democrats promise action at USET conference (2/14)
Harjo: GOP calls Indian health care 'race-based' (2/12)
Tribes forced to ration funds for health services (2/2)
Interview: Inadequate health care in Indian Country (01/16)
Joint hearing on Indian health care act postponed (11/14)
Final push for health care bill in 109th Congress (11/13)
White House hit over delays in health care and Cobell (10/05)
Still no Indian Health Care Improvement Act (09/22)
New Standard: U.S. failing to deliver health care (7/18)
Senate panel advances Indian health care measure (10/28)
Senate committee takes up slate of Indian bills (10/27)
Hearing on Indian Health Care Improvement Act (07/13)
Oklahoma senator loses Indian health care vote (06/29)

Copyright © Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Stay Connected:
On Facebook

On Twitter

On Google+

On SoundCloud
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Dave Archambault: Why the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is fighting (8/25)
Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe chair dispels rumors about camp site (8/25)
Native Sun News: Thousands join pipeline resistance movement (8/25)
Lakota Country Times: Bill honors memory of Cheyenne woman (8/25)
John Yellow Bird Steele: A great step forward with Black Elk Peak (8/25)
Dina Gilio-Whitaker: There's more than one path to reconciliation (8/25)
Osage Nation celebrates $74M acquisition of ancestral territory (8/25)
Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe hails bid to reconsider casino ruling (8/25)
Twenty-Nine Palms Band considers expansion project at casino (8/25)
Grand Traverse Band shares gaming funds with local community (8/25)
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe sees strong support at pipeline hearing (8/24)
Judge takes aim at Ute Tribe after being kicked off sovereignty suit (8/24)
Lakota Country Times: County seeks compensation for trust lands (8/24)
Native Sun News: Sage remains a special plant for Native peoples (8/24)
Jim Kent: Republicans in South Dakota whine about Black Elk Peak (8/24)
Matthew Fletcher: The Supreme Court and Indian Child Welfare Act (8/24)
Kayla DeVault: Navajo Nation must take a stand on Dakota Access (8/24)
Meskwaki author Ray Young Bear wins award for poetry collection (8/24)
Puyallup Tribe acquires golf course within reservation boundaries (8/24)
Pauma Band might finally see $33.6M payment from gaming case (8/24)
Oneida Nation sends even more gaming revenues to communities (8/24)
Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe seeks prayers ahead of pipeline hearing (8/23)
Second run scheduled to raise awareness of Gold King Mine disaster (8/23)
U.S. Sentencing Commission continues work of tribal advisory group (8/23)
Chemehuevi Tribe wins decision barring county from citing members (8/23)
Lakota Country Times: Oglala Sioux Tribe joins fight against pipeline (8/23)
Native Sun News: Mario Gonzales moves from ball court to law court (8/23)
Brandon Ecoffey: The Horse Nations prepare for battle over pipeline (8/23)
Steven Newcomb: Standing Rock Sioux Tribe challenges domination (8/23)
Simon Moya-Smith: Hillary Clinton remains silent amid pipeline feud (8/23)
Sheriff mistook sacred pipes for pipe bombs at pipeline protest site (8/23)
Charles Carlyle: Issues to consider when doing business with tribes (8/23)
Choctaw Nation starts work on expansion of casino by Texas border (8/23)
Judge rules against Miccosukee citizen in gaming per capita dispute (8/23)
more headlines...

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Federal Register | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.