indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+
ph: 202 630 8439
Kill The Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines
Print   Subscribe
IHS resolves another self-determination dispute
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Filed Under: Health | Law

After years of battles in the courtroom, the Indian Health Service has finally settled a long-running self-determination dispute.

Last week, the agency paid $41.2 million to the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation for an underfunded contract. The money will be used to provide health care to more than 50 Alaska Native villages.

According to attorneys who handled the case, the payout is the largest ever for a self-determination contract. In recent years, IHS has paid over $20 million to the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma and over $6 million to the Shoshone-Paiute Tribes of Nevada.

But $200 million -- and possibly more -- are at issue in a class action lawsuit against the federal government. Tribes and Alaska Natives say the IHS has failed to live up to its promises to pay them for health care services.

In March 2004, Indian Country thought the U.S. Supreme Court resolved the dispute. In a unanimous ruling, the justices said the government must fully fund self-determination contracts not just for the cost of the program but for additional support costs.

"The government does not deny that it promised to pay the relevant contract support costs. Nor does it deny that it failed to pay," Justice Stephen G. Breyer wrote in the 8-0 decision.

Despite the victory, IHS has said it isn't required to pay the contract support costs due to restricting language in appropriations law. But in another court case involving the Southern Ute Tribe of Colorado, a federal judge struck down the policy as unlawful.

"The mere failure of Congress to appropriate funds, without further words modifying or repealing, expressly or by clear implication, the substantive law, does not in and of itself defeat a government obligation created by statute," Judge William P. Johnson wrote last June.

The dispute stems from the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act of 1975. The landmark law authorizes tribes to assume programs -- ranging from health care to social services -- that were previously managed by federal agencies.

The self-determination policy has been a success, with hundreds of tribes entering into contracts and compacts to take control of their destinies. But IHS has never completely fulfilled its promise to pay for the costs of the programs along with the contract support costs.

Tribes have asked Congress to clear up the matter but several bills that would require IHS to pay the contract support costs have not made it very far. The issue also affects contracts from the Department of the Interior.

The $41 million paid to the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation includes interest. The original health care contract was underpaid by $26 million.

Civilian Board of Contract Appeals Documents:
Order | Joint Request for Judgment

Supreme Court Decision in Cherokee Nation v. Leavitt:
Syllabus | Opinion [Breyer] | Concurrence [Scalia]

Relevant Links:
Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation - http://www.ykhc.org
Indian Health Service - http://www.ihs.gov
Contract Support Cost Litigation - http://www.cscclass.net
Contract Support Costs, NCAI - http://www.ncai.org/Contract_Support.36.0.html

Related Stories:
Colorado tribe wins contract support cost dispute (6/22)
Nevada tribe finally paid for health services contract (4/26)
Tribes continue fight for self-determination contracts (12/16)
BIA ordered to pay for self-determination contract (09/26)
Contracts still an issue despite Supreme Court win (8/14)
Tribal contracts pose conflict for U.S. Supreme Court (11/10)
Court to hear self-determination contract case (11/9)
Supreme Court takes action on Indian law cases (11/02)
Campbell says agencies afraid of helping tribes (04/30)
Tribes ask Congress to address contract shortfalls (04/28)
Supreme Court to resolve self-determination dispute (03/23)
Supreme Court weighs self-determination dispute (03/09)
Court rules tribe owed self-determination funds (07/07)
Appeals court turns down Navajo Nation again (04/09)
Court rebuffs tribes on contract funding dispute (11/27)
Navajo Nation challenges contract policy (10/04)

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

Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Choctaw Nation Trial:
Choctaw Nation releases statement after guilty verdict in case (11/21)
Former Choctaw Nation employee found guilty after lengthy trial (11/21)
Trial on Choctaw Nation fraud winds down with final testimony (11/21)
Leader of Choctaw Nation faces tough questions in fraud trial (11/21)
Latest News:
Native Sun News: Oglala Sioux youth to join White House meet (11/21)
Obamas welcome youth from Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to DC (11/21)
Dina Gilio-Whitaker: Tax disparities remain in Indian Country (11/21)
ICT interview with DOI deputy secretary on Cobell buy-backs (11/21)
Oglala Sioux Tribe rounds up dogs after deadly attack on girl (11/21)
North Dakota tribe in negotiations for pipeline to curb flaring (11/21)
Saginaw Chippewa Tribe passes language to new generation (11/21)
Blog: Play-by-play of election controversy on Navajo Nation (11/21)
Column: Theories link Thanksgiving to 1637 Pequot massacre (11/21)
BIA publishes notice of Karuk Tribe Class III gaming compact (11/21)
Oklahoma reports drop in gaming exclusivity fees from tribes (11/21)
Pala Band gears up for official launch of Internet gaming site (11/21)
Native Sun News: Oglala Sioux woman shot and killed by police (11/20)
Mark Trahant: Lakota honor song wasn't out of place in Senate (11/20)
Dog attack blamed for death of eight-year-old girl at Pine Ridge (11/20)
DOI issues status report on Cobell land consolidation program (11/20)
Greg Grey Cloud explains Lakota honor song after Senate vote (11/20)
Steven Newcomb: Disestablishing the doctrines of domination (11/20)
Sen. Mark Begich: Moving forward for the first people of Alaska (11/20)
Bill Richardson: Indian Country feels effects of climate change (11/20)
Smithsonian: Sand Creek Massacre of 1864 won't be forgotten (11/20)
Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe sues South Dakota over sales tax (11/20)
Morongo Band distributes 10K turkeys for Thanksgiving meals (11/20)
GAO report looks at tribal implementation of Adam Walsh Act (11/20)
FBI opens background check database to tribal law agencies (11/20)
Survey shows most Americans wouldn't use R-word in person (11/20)
USDA Blog: Youth from Angoon Tribe carry on their traditions (11/20)
Editorial: County and critics must stop fighting Chumash Tribe (11/20)
Editorial: Oklahoma Indian museum benefits the entire state (11/20)
Muscogee Nation finally starts work on $365M gaming project (11/20)
Two tribes making push for off-reservation casino in California (11/20)
Mashantucket Tribe hires new executive for gaming operation (11/20)
Opinion: Catawba Nation makes a sneak attack with casino bid (11/20)
Opinion: Poarch Creek gaming deal won't help state's economy (11/20)
Native Sun News: Northern Cheyenne activists push for change (11/19)
Mark Trahant: Historic election in Alaska with Native candidate (11/19)
Audio: Senate Indian Affairs Committee hearing on child trauma (11/19)
Republicans hold up action on Alaska tribal jurisdiction measure (11/19)
DOI official to give update on Cobell land consolidation program (11/19)
Center for Native American Youth hosts panel discussion in DC (11/19)
Sen. Heitkamp to host panel on child trauma in Indian Country (11/19)
Gyasi Ross: Police shootings aren't just a 'people of color' issue (11/19)
Steven Newcomb: Focusing on liberation and self-determination (11/19)
Crow Creek Sioux man arrested as Senate rejects Keystone bill (11/19)
Leader of Tunica-Biloxi Tribe hit with prescription drug charges (11/19)
Performance sheds light on 'purchase' of Lenape island in 1626 (11/19)
Alaska Supreme Court hears dispute over tribal court authority (11/19)
Editorial: Put end to 'futile' taxation dispute with Chehalis Tribe (11/19)
Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes announce $27M casino (11/19)
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.