Health | Law | National

Health care reform act provides many benefits in Indian Country

The Affordable Care Act, the landmark health care reform law, includes many benefits for Indian Country.

The biggest is a permanent reauthorization of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act. Tribes had lobbied Congress for more than a decade to pass the bill before it was finally included in the health reform law.

“Even better still, IHCIA is permanent," Charles Grim, the senior director of Cherokee Nation Health Services, told The Tahlequah Daily Press. "It will remain in law, and tribes will never be forced to go through the reauthorization process again.”

Grim, incidentally, served as director of the Indian Health Service during the Bush administration, when officials actively raised objections to the IHCIA.

But there are other provisions that will help individual Indians and tribes, the paper reported. Tribal members can purchase insurance to supplement IHS care and they will be protected from certain cost-sharing requirements under Title I of the law.

The Medicare Part B "sunset" date has been eliminated, giving tribes more flexibility to receive funds through the Medicare program, Grimm told the paper. Additionally, health care benefits provided to tribal members can no longer be taxed by the federal government.

Get the Story:
Health care law won’t affect Indian services (The Tahlequah Daily Press 7/30)

Supreme Court Decision:
NFIB v. Sebelius (June 28, 2012)

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