indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+ indianz.com on soundcloud
phone: 202 630 8439
Fredericks Peebles & Morgan LLP
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines
Print   Subscribe
Tribal leaders hear dueling messages on Indian health in the new Donald Trump era

Filed Under: Health | National | Politics
More on: aca, appropriations, brian cladoosby, chris buchanan, dc, democrats, derek kilmer, donald trump, doug lamalfa, fy2017, fy2018, hhs, ihcia, ihs, meetings, nancy pelosi, ncai, republicans, tcc, tom cole, tom price, victor joseph
     
   

National Congress of American Indians President Brian Cladoosby addresses the organization's winter session in Washington, D.C., on February 14, 2017. Photo by Indianz.Com / Available for use under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

As tribal leaders navigate the nation's new political climate, they are hearing conflicting messages from even some of their closest allies on Capitol Hill.

Indian issues have always been portrayed as non-partisan but a slew of lawmakers confirmed that's not the case, at least when it comes to health care. Republicans and Democrats shared vastly different views on the subject as hundreds of tribal leaders gathered in Washington, D.C., for the winter session of the National Congress of American Indians.

Republicans on the one hand insisted they will protect the gains made in the Indian Health Care Improvement Act (IHCIA) while they pursue a repeal of the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare. The IHCIA was included in the larger law and, more significantly, was made permanent after strong lobbying efforts by tribes.

“We need not pull the rug out" on Indian Country, Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-California), who is serving as the new chairman of the House Subcommittee on Indian, Insular and Alaska Native Affairs, said on Tuesday at NCAI's meeting.


But Democrats offered a different take. They said their colleagues on the other side of the aisle have failed to offer a concrete plan to protect the IHCIA, not to mention the pro-tribal provisions found elsewhere in the national health law.

"Protecting and honoring our trust responsibility means protecting the promise of the Affordable Care Act," Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-California), the top Democrat in the House, told tribal leaders.

The disconnect comes as lawmakers and tribes alike wait for Republican President Donald Trump to advance his own health priorities. His new administration must propose a fiscal year 2018 budget for the Department of Health and Human Services, which includes the Indian Health Service, but it's not expected for at least another month, or maybe even much longer.

"We should have a new budget by now. All new presidents are cut some slack to get their people in place and send Congress a late budget," Darren Benjamin, a top Republican staffer on the House Appropriations Committee, told tribal leaders. "But everything I read in the press, this looks to be later than anything I’ve ever seen."


Complicating matters is the lack of a fiscal year 2017 budget for the federal government. Lawmakers instead passed a continuing resolution that leaves the Indian Health Service and other tribal programs without any increases despite inflation and rising costs.

"So there's no clarity from Congress ... there's no clarify from the Trump administration," said Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minnesota), who serves as the co-chair of the Congressional Native American Caucus, a bipartisan group of lawmakers.

The uncertainty has some tribal leaders worried. "A lot of it still leaves us in doubt about our future," Victor Joseph, the chairman of the Tanana Chiefs Conference in Alaska, said of the conflicting messages coming from Washington on the IHCIA and funding for the IHS.

NCAI President Brian Cladoosby expressed similar concerns after he delivered the first State of Indian Nations address in the Trump era on Monday. He said tribes need more than words to feel safe about the health care promised to the first Americans through treaties, agreements and other statutes.


"We've heard that [but] we haven't seen it in writing," Cladoosby said of the pledge to safeguard the IHCIA and the IHS.

Despite the challenges, tribal leaders are counting on allies in the legislative branch to help them deal with the new executive branch. Lawmakers from both parties repeatedly promised to help Indian Country on self-determination, economic development and other issues.

"Meeting our treaty obligations, fulfilling our trust responsibility is not discretionary," Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-Washington) said to applause.

NCAI's winter session, which began on Monday, continues on Tuesday evening with the 19th annual leadership awards banquet. This year's honorees include Rep. Tom Cole (R-Oklahoma), who is a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation and is one of only two members of a federally recognized tribe in Congress. He is among those working to come up with legislation to protect Indian health if Obamacare is repealed.

Wednesday's agenda includes an update from Rear admiral Chris Buchanan, who is serving as the acting director of the IHS. Trump has yet to nominate a leader for the agency although former Rep. Tom Price (R-Georgia) has been confirmed as the new Secretary of Health and Human Services. Price is a fierce opponent of Obamacare.


Copyright © Indianz.Com
More headlines...

Latest Headlines:

Secretary Zinke removes protections for grizzlies over tribal objections
Court sets final deadline for remaining payments from Cobell settlement
Mary Annette Pember: Indian Child Welfare Act strengthens our families
Peter d'Errico: Navajo authors offer fresh perspective on sovereignty
Native woman was jailed and forced to ride with assailant during trial
Ute Mountain Ute Tribe challenges new permit for uranium operation
Montana tribes get new member of Congress who pleaded to assault
Connecticut tribes welcome court decision favoring new casino law
Pueblo tribes dispute state's demand for $40M in gaming revenues
Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe remains confident of approval of casino
Nooksack Tribe accepting slot tickets while casino remains closed
Key House committee under fire for moving slowly on tribal agenda
Tribes go it alone on climate change as Trump team shifts priorities
Bryan Newland: President Trump's budget threatens tribal treaties
Steve Russell: The GI Bill changed the United States for the better
Harold Monteau: Democrats lack proactive agenda, proactive strategy
St. Regis Mohawk Tribe orders 20 non-citizens to leave reservation
Wilton Rancheria accused of working too closely with city on casino
Witness list for hearing on bill to reform the Indian Health Service
Arne Vainio: What does the princess want to be when she grows up?
Doug George-Kanentiio: 'Spirit Game' brings Iroquois lacrosse to life
Cronkite News: Navajo activist vows fight against racist NFL mascot
Eric Hannel: Addressing the health care crisis among Native Americans
Bill for tribal regalia at graduation ceremonies advances in California
Ramapough Lunaape Nation wins reversal of ruling on prayer camp
Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe still waits on casino ruling from Trump team
Another former leader of Winnebago Tribe pleads in gaming theft case
Supreme Court ruling poses hurdle for opponents of racist NFL mascot
Change the Mascot campaign responds to negative Supreme Court ruling
Secretary Zinke set for another hearing on Interior Department budget
Mark Trahant: Republicans write health reform bill behind closed doors
Jeff Grubbe: Agua Caliente Band focuses on protecting our groundwater
Steven Newcomb: Asserting our traditions in the era of Donald Trump
Shasta Dazen: 'Family Spirit' program incorporates our tribal traditions
Secretary Zinke shuffles top Indian Affairs officials at Interior Department
Choctaw Nation travels to Ireland to dedicate 'Kindred Spirits' sculpture
Nooksack Tribe closes doors to casino after being hit with federal order
Muscogee Nation asserts authority at allotment where casino was proposed
Mark Trahant: Dakota Access decision offers a chance to return to respect
Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe hails 'victory' in Dakota Access Pipeline case
Nooksack Tribe told to close casino amid leadership and citizenship feud
Kristi Noem: Enough is enough - It's time to fix the Indian Health Service
Second hearing scheduled on bill to reform the Indian Health Service
Trump nominee for appeals court seen as favorable to tribal interests
Terese Mailhot: We don't tell Native women how brilliant they really are
Indian Country cheers as judge orders review of Dakota Access Pipeline
Jacqueline Keeler: Connecting the Dakota Access Pipeline to history
Cronkite News: Tribes win decision in water rights dispute in Arizona
Secretary Zinke rejects complaints about consultation and Bears Ears
Senate Committee on Indian Affairs approves two bills at meeting
Embattled Indian Health Service hospital losing top executive again
Connecticut tribes heap praise on senior Trump administration official
Gabe Galanda: Tribal 'membership' rules strip away at sovereignty
Swinomish Tribe still pursuing lawsuit against oil trains on reservation
Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians unveil biking and hiking trail system
>>> more headlines...

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Federal Register | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.