Senate Indian Affairs action on IHCIA postponed
The Senate Indian Affairs Committee won't be taking action on S.1790, the Indian Health Care Improvement Reauthorization and Extension Act of 2009, today.

The committee was going to consider the bill at a business meeting this afternoon. But a vote has been postponed for now, though the hearing on drugs and gangs in Indian Country will go on at 2pm.

Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-North Dakota), the chairman of the committee, introduced S.1790 in October. The bill is a streamlined version of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act that passed the Senate last year.

According to Dorgan, the bill will:
• Permanently re-authorize all current Indian health care programs.
• Authorize programs to increase the recruitment and retention of health care professionals, such as updates to the scholarship program, demonstration programs which promote new, innovative models of health care, to improve access to health care for Indians and Alaska Natives
• Authorize long-term care, including home health care, assisted living, and community based care. Current law provides for none of these forms of long-term care.
• Establish mental and behavioral health programs beyond alcohol and substance abuse, such as fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, and child sexual abuse and domestic violence prevention programs.
• Establish demonstration projects that provide incentives to use innovative facility construction methods, such as modular component construction and mobile health stations, to save money and improve access to health care services.
• Require that the IHS budget account for medical inflation rates and population growth, in order to combat the dramatic underfunding of the Indian health system.

The House passed IHCIA as part of H.R.3692, the Affordable Health Care for America Act. Senate Democrats unveiled their version of the health reform bill yesterday.

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Dorgan introduces updated version of health bill (10/15)
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