indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+
ph: 202 630 8439   fax: 202 318 2182
Fredericks Peebles & Morgan LLP
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines
Print   Subscribe
Indian health care bill cleared for vote in Senate
Monday, October 22, 2007
Filed Under: Health | Politics

After years of delay, the Indian Health Care Improvement Act has finally been cleared for a vote on the Senate floor.

The law expired in 2000 and tribes and Indian health organizations have been working hard to reauthorize it. But the task hasn't been easy due to opposition from the Bush administration and a few Republican senators.

With Democrats in control of Congress, Indian Country is hoping 2007 will finally bring success. "The time to pass the IHCIA is now," H. Sally Smith, the chairman of the National Indian Health Board, said at a packed rally in the U.S. Capitol last month.

After being approved by the Senate Indian Affairs Committee and the Senate Finance Committee, the bill was placed on the Senate's legislative calendar. A vote could come as early as this week.

The process hasn't been entirely worked out but due to potential objections, it may be necessary for the Senate to vote on a "cloture" motion before a final vote. Any Senator could place an anonymous hold on the measure, essentially filibustering it.

In order to overcome a hold, a cloture motion requires 60 votes to pass. The 49 Democrats and two Independents in the Senate are likely to vote in favor of a cloture motion.

But only four Republicans are co-sponsoring S.1200, the Indian Health Care Improvement Act Amendments. That means the bill needs the support of at leaves five more Republicans in order to gain final passage.

A notable Republican holdout has been Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona), a 2008 presidential candidate. Although he introduced the bill when he was chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee in the 109th Congress, he left his name off the current version.

That doesn't mean McCain hasn't been supportive of efforts to reauthorize the IHCIA, however. When he tried to pass his version of the bill last fall, the Department of Justice released an anonymous "white paper" that derailed it on the eve of consideration.

"I am deeply concerned about the repeated delays in passing this legislation and the seemingly unending series of obstacles thrown in the way of getting this business done," McCain said of the Bush administration's objections in December 2006.

Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-North Dakota), the current chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, tried to get to the bottom of the snafu at a hearing earlier this year. But a top DOJ official was unable to explain how, or why, the white paper was released, and who authored it.

Indian health leaders say the bill is critical to the lives of to more than 2 million American Indians and Alaska Natives. A lot has changed in health care since the bill was last reauthorized in 1992 and tribes need more flexibility to provide services for their members, according to supporters.

"Long-term care is in there, dialysis is in there," said Wehnona St. Cyr, a member of the Omaha Tribe of Nebraska who helped draft provisions of the bill through a national steering committee.

"It makes it so much easier to recruit providers," said St. Cyr's whose work at her tribe's health care center earned her a prestigious $125,000 award from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

"At least we'll have the authorizing legislation that recognizes our programs," she said of provisions that would directly benefit her tribe. "We could use some support in those areas. I'm hoping that it gets passed."

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

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 leaders win prestigious award (10/04)
Indian Country rallies for health care in U.S. Capitol (09/13)
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:
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Cobell settlement checks landing in Indian Country mailboxes (9/18)
Sen. Walsh welcomes arrival of last Cobell settlement payout (9/18)
Peter d'Errico: Connecting mascots to racism and termination (9/18)
Opinion: Eliminating NFL team's racist mascot is just the start (9/18)
Student newspaper punished over refusal to print the R-word (9/18)
City won't allow vote on Tohono O'odham Nation casino plan (9/18)
9th Circuit poses tough questions in Big Lagoon casino case (9/18)
North Fork Rancheria banks on voter approval of casino deal (9/18)
KBIC judge dismisses lawsuit challenging plan for new casino (9/18)
Oneida Nation concerned about location of commercial casino (9/18)
Mashantucket Tribe's gaming executive to resign next month (9/18)
Column: Time for Mohegan Tribe to show its hand over casino (9/18)
Native Sun News: Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe honors veterans (9/17)
Mark Trahant: Is independence in the future for tribal nations? (9/17)
Audio: SCIA takes up bill to bar Tohono O'odham Nation casino (9/17)
House approves bill to address tribal general welfare programs (9/17)
House Natural Resources Committee sets markup on tribal bills (9/17)
House subcommittee to hold hearing on bill for Hualapai Tribe (9/17)
9th Circuit takes up Big Lagoon Rancheria gaming land dispute (9/17)
House passes bill to shield Gun Lake Tribe casino from litigation (9/17)
Andre Cramblit: Enjoying life at Dartmouth as a Native student (9/17)
Dina Gilio-Whitaker: Tribes need to lead climate change reform (9/17)
Sarah Deer wins genius grant for work to protect Native women (9/17)
Tex Hall loses bid for another term as chair of North Dakota tribe (9/17)
Group starts dragging of river in search of missing Native women (9/17)
Appeal filed over Navajo language ability of presidential hopeful (9/17)
Trial delayed for leader of Muscogee Nation accused in theft case (9/17)
Editorial: Pass bill to extend federal recognition to Virginia tribes (9/17)
NLRB reaffirms jurisdiction over Little River Band gaming facility (9/17)
Chumash Tribe to use labor unions for all work on casino project (9/17)
Student arrested over theft at Saginaw Chippewa Tribe's casino (9/17)
Native Sun News: Homeless students find support in Rapid City (9/16)
Checks from final payment of Cobell settlement put in the mail (9/16)
DOI offers $9.4M for Cobell buy-backs on Umatilla Reservation (9/16)
House takes up bill to address tribal general welfare programs (9/16)
Tribal leaders headed to Capitol Hill to push legislative priorities (9/16)
NMAI hosts symposium on treaties to coincide with new exhibit (9/16)
Witnesses: Hearing on bill to bar Tohono O'odham Nation casino (9/16)
Rival tribes spend $13M to block Tohono O'odham Nation casino (9/16)
Mark Charles: Trail of Tears sign points to much deeper problem (9/16)
Donna Ennis: Don't let ethnic imposters take away our identity (9/16)
Serial killer sentenced to life term for murder of Native woman (9/16)
Civil rights complaint filed over repeated denial of honor song (9/16)
Sen. Cantwell to introduce bill to end NFL's tax-exempt status (9/16)
House backs package to transfer federal land to Te-Moak Tribe (9/16)
Fort Belknap Tribe detained state game warden for trespassing (9/16)
Mohegan Tribe to open first Smashburger location in December (9/16)
Police in Ontario investigate letter that threatens Native people (9/16)
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.