Tribes unsure of IHS stake in national reform talks
Tribes have spent the last decade advocating for health care reform and now that the rest of the nation is on the same page, they aren't sure where the Indian Health Service stands.

But tribes want to make sure they don't lose ground. That's been their consistent message as Congress has considered the Indian Health Care Improvement Act over the last few years.

"The preference of most tribal people I'm aware of is sufficient funding for IHS to do its job," Gordon Belcourt, the executive director of the Montana-Wyoming Tribal Leaders Council, told The Billings Gazette.

So far, the IHS hasn't taken a major role in the national reform talks. At a House Natural Resources Committee yesterday, IHS director Yvette Roubideaux said the agency will consult with tribes on July 7.

"We don't know what health care reform is going to look like, so it's hard to position ourselves," Pete Conway, an IHS official in Montana, said.

Get the Story:
Tribes watch health care reform intently (The Billings Gazette 6/26)

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