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Tribes, Alaska Natives pursue class action IHS suit

More than 300 tribes and Alaska Natives continue to pursue a $1 billion class action lawsuit against the Indian Health Service.

The plaintiffs say the IHS has shortchanged their health care contracts. "We shouldn't be treated as second-class citizens when it comes to health care," Dan Winkelman, the general counsel for the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corp., told The Anchorage Daily News.

The Cherokee Nation won a U.S. Supreme Court case on contract support costs. The justices unanimously ruled that the IHS must fully fund the amount promised to the tribe.

But the agency says it can't pay the full amount because Congress hasn't appropriate enough funds. Last year, IHS shortchanged tribes by about 25 percent of their contract support costs.

Get the Story:
Alaska tribal health groups join suit (The Anchorage Daily News 2/14)

Supreme Court Decision Cherokee Nation v. Leavitt:
Sylalbus | Opinion [Breyer] | Concurrence [Scalia]

Relevant Links:
Contract Support Cost Litigation - http://www.cscclass.net
NCAI Contract Support - http://www.ncai.org/Contract_Support.36.0.html
Indian Health Service, Phoenix Area - http://www.ihs.gov/FacilitiesServices/AreaOffices/Phoenix

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