IHCIA passes House as part of health reform bill
The House voted 220 to 215 to pass H.R.3692, the Affordable Health Care for America Act.

The bill includes the Indian Health Care Improvement Act, which tribes have been pushing to reauthorize for more than a decade. However, some IHCIA sponsors -- including Rep. Tom Cole (R-Oklahoma), a member of the Chickasaw Nation, Rep. Dan Boren (D-Oklahoma), and Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) -- voted against H.R.3962.

Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D-South Dakota) also voted against the bill. She announced her opposition a day after she spoke at the White House Tribal Nations Conference.

Apart from the IHCIA, the Affordable Health Care for America Act contains some significant Indian-specific provisions. Section 345 exempts tribal or Indian Health Service benefits from being taxed, an issue that was the subject of a Senate Indian Affairs Committee hearing on September 18.

For the purposes of Section 345, Alaska Native regional and village corporations are considered tribes.

Regarding the bill's mandatory health insurance requirement, individuals who receive care through IHS, tribal or urban Indian providers are exempt from potential penalties.

The IHCIA provisions are found in Division D, on page 1,636, of H.R.3962. The IHCIA will be permanently reauthorized if the bill passes, according to the National Indian Health Board.

Get the Story:
Abortion an obstacle to health-care bill (The Washington Post 11/9)
Compromise won over Democratic holdouts (The Washington Post 11/9)
'Not right answer for S.D.' (The Sioux Falls Argus Leader 11/7)

Indian Health Care Improvement Act:
S.1790 | H.R.2708

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