Indian Health Service tops $5B mark with new budget proposal

Indian Health Services Director Yvette Roubideaux at the White House Tribal Nations Conference in December 2014. Photo from IHS

President Barack Obama is requesting a record $5.1 billion for the Indian Health Service.

If enacted as proposed, IHS will see an additional $461 million in fiscal year 2016. Increases will be seen in clinical services ($984 million), preventive health ($163 million), health care facilities construction ($185 million) and sanitation facilities construction ($125 million) -- programs that directly affect American Indian and Alaska Native patients.

"The FY 2016 budget requests increases for targeted areas where funding will have long-term impacts on the health and well-being of those served by IHS," the budget document states.

The budget also includes a proposal to fund contract support costs on a permanent basis, starting in fiscal year 2017. The U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled that the IHS must fully fund self-determination contracts, including additional support costs owed to tribes.

"If enacted by Congress, this change is a long-term solution that will continue the policy to fully fund contract support costs, make new investments to ensure program integrity, and protect the health care services budget," the document states.

The Obama administration will consult tribes as it moves forward with the proposal. Contract support costs are funded at $718 million, an increase of $55 million, in the budget.

The IHS is part of the Department of Health and Human Services, whose budget request for fiscal year 2016 comes to $83.8 billion.

Fiscal Year 2016 Budget Documents:
IHS Budget Overview | HHS Budget in Brief

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