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
Native American Bank - Native people investing in Native communities
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:
On Facebook

On Twitter

On Google+

On SoundCloud
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
School starts at #NoDAPL camp as resistance stays for long haul (8/29)
Dave Archambault: Stopping the desecration of our Mother Earth (8/29)
Lakota Country Times: Resisters dispute emergency declaration (8/29)
Mark Trahant: State erects roadblock at peaceful #NoDAPL camp (8/29)
Latoya Lonelodge: Witnessing history at Camp of Sacred Stones (8/29)
Jon Eagle: Land remains sacred to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe (8/29)
Albert Bender: Tribes join together at Camp of the Sacred Stones (8/29)
Steven Newcomb: Law of Christendom at play in #NoDAPL battle (8/29)
Arvol Looking Horse: Saving our Earth from energy development (8/29)
Senate Committee on Indian Affairs schedules hearing on 4 bills (8/29)
Quapaw Tribe hosts groundbreaking for meat processing facility (8/29)
Native Sun News: Youth learn about traditions with Native games (8/29)
Delphine Red Shirt: Taking control of teaching our own languages (8/29)
Denver American Horse: Veterans column in the Lakota language (8/29)
Johnny Rustywire: Native youth are curious about their heritage (8/29)
Opinion: Alaska enters a new era with tribes and land-into-trust (8/29)
Second switched at birth case uncovered at First Nation hospital (8/29)
Bishop Paiute Tribe urges patience after officer involved shooting (8/29)
Author in Virginia credits Powhatan Tribe with inventing barbecue (8/29)
Brian Fraser: Don't let tribes open casinos everywhere they want (8/29)
Trial slated to begin for death of Mohegan Tribe casino employee (8/29)
Frog Lake First Nation proposes gaming development in Alberta (8/29)
Tribal Tribune: Unity at Standing Rock Sioux Tribe's sacred camp (8/26)
Dakota Access Pipeline lacks key approval to build by reservation (8/26)
Lummi Nation sends totem pole to #NoDAPL camp in North Dakota (8/26)
Winona LaDuke: Corporate interests come to destroy our mother (8/26)
Sarah Sunshine Manning: #NoDAPL campaign awakens our people (8/26)
Native Sun News: Mother charged in beating death of 2-year-old (8/26)
Lakota Country Times: Oglala veteran pushed for Black Elk Peak (8/26)
Jeffrey Whalen: Oglala Sioux Tribe continues to get nothing done (8/26)
Leon Matthews: Off The Rez Ramblings heads back to Pine Ridge (8/26)
Erica Pinto: Jamul Indian Village planning to debut casino 'soon' (8/26)
Harold Monteau: Tribal lending industry facing major challenges (8/26)
Winnebago Tribe becomes first with non-smoking room at casino (8/26)
Tlingit and Haida Tribes win federal approval of gaming ordinance (8/26)
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.