Health | Opinion

Editorial: IHS not exempt from federal budget sequestration

The New York Times blames Republicans for failing to exempt the Indian Health Service from the sequestration of the federal budget:
The Congressional Republicans who brought us the mindless budget cuts known as the sequester have shown remarkable indifference to life-sustaining government services, American jobs and other programs. So what do they make of the country’s commitments to American Indians, its longstanding obligations to tribal governments under the Constitution and treaties dating back centuries?

Very little, it seems. The sequester will impose cuts of 5 percent across the Indian Health Service, the modestly financed agency within the United States Department of Health and Human Services that provides basic health care to two million American Indians and native Alaskans. It is underfinanced for its mission and cannot tolerate more deprivation.

Here lies a little-noticed example of moral abdication. The biggest federal health and safety-net programs — Social Security, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Supplemental Security Income, and veterans’ compensation and health benefits — are all exempt from sequestration. But the Indian Health Service is not.

Get the Story:
Editorial: The Sequester Hits the Reservation (The New York Times 3/21)

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