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
The University of Tulsa College of Law - Master's in Indian Law
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines
Print   Subscribe
Indian health care law safe for now as GOP targets Obamacare

Filed Under: Health | National | Politics
More on: 115th, aca, barack obama, democrats, george bush, h.r.1639, house, ihcia, ihs, markwayne mullin, medicaid, nihb, republicans, s.1790, tom cole
     
   

The Choctaw Nation opened the doors to the new Choctaw Nation Regional Medical Clinic in Durant, Oklahoma, on February 21, 2017. Photo: Deidre K. Elrod / Choctaw Nation

Indian Country is breathing a sigh of relief as Republicans move forward with efforts to repeal Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare.

After months of rumors and speculation, top GOP lawmakers unveiled the American Health Care Act on Monday. The bill consists of two separate packages that repeal Obamacare and replace it with new or modified programs.

But the repeal portion does not touch the Indian Health Care Improvement Act, which was made permanent by the Affordable Care Act. Other pro-tribal provisions are not affected either, according to the National Indian Health Board.

"Crucially, neither committee's draft legislation included repeal of the Indian Healthcare Improvement Act which was passed in 2010 as part of the ACA but remains unrelated to the main structure of the law's healthcare reforms," the organization said in an update on Tuesday. "Other Indian-specific pieces of the ACA are also left intact."

At the same time, the NIHB pointed out that Rep. Tom Cole (R-Oklahoma), a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation, introduced H.R.1639 on Monday. The bill includes the entire text of the IHCIA and is seen as a "safeguard" to protect Indian health as the repeal campaign moves forward.

Still, the American Health Care Act proposes critical changes that will impact tribes and their citizens. It stops the expansion of Medicaid in 2020 despite the popularity of the program in states across the nation.

The bill also transforms the Medicaid program itself. Funds will be delivered to states on a per capita basis, or based on the number of participants, which the NIHB said would result in lower funding levels.

"Due to the vital role the Medicaid program plays in fulfilling the federal trust responsibility, NIHB is extremely concerned about the changes the bill enacts to Medicaid Expansion," the organization said in its update.

Amid the uncertainty, Republicans are moving quickly on the American Health Care Act. The House Committee on Ways and Means and the House Energy and Commerce Committee are meeting on Wednesday morning to advance the two components of the bill, with the latter focusing on the Medicaid reforms.


Throughout the debate, key Republicans -- including Cole and Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Oklahoma) -- have repeatedly promised tribes that Indian health won't be harmed by the Obamacare repeal. The two lawmakers are the only enrolled tribal citizens in Congress.

“It is vitally important to Indian Country," Mullin, who is from the Cherokee Nation, said of the IHCIA during the winter session of the National Congress of American Indians last month. "We are not wanting to see a lot of changes."

The inclusion of the IHCIA in Obamacare represented a huge milestone for Indian Country. Tribes were strongly pushing to reauthorize the law, which had expired in 2000, but ran into opposition from Republican lawmakers and the George W. Bush administration.

One tribal leader accused the Bush administration of a "last minute ambush" in 2006 as yet another version of IHCIA failed to pass under Republican rule. Another said the executive branch was failing to live up to its government-to-government responsibilities.

After a decade of setbacks, the situation changed with Democrats in control of Congress and with Barack Obama in the White House. The IHCIA was added to Obamacare and was made permanent in 2010, ensuring that tribes wouldn't face obstruction as they sought the health care promised by numerous treaties and federal laws.

But Democrats did not actually insert the text of the IHCIA into Obamacare. Instead, they included a reference to S.1790, which was the legislative vehicle for the bill at the time.

The procedural move is now providing an extra layer of protection for the landmark law. As the NIHB pointed out, the American Health Care Act does not specifically repeal the section of the Affordable Care Act that references the IHCIA, meaning it should stay intact for now.

Related Stories:
Mark Trahant: Republicans roll dice with Obamacare replacement (03/07)
House panel looks at Indian Health Service infrastructure needs (03/06)
Bill seeks comprehensive audit of Indian Health Service amid debate on Obamacare (03/01)
Mark Trahant: Trump set to deliver financial blow to Indian Country (03/01)
Tribal leaders hear dueling messages on Indian health in the new Donald Trump era (02/14)
Donald Trump's Cabinet grows with more anti-Indian advocates (02/13)
Raúl Grijalva: Republicans are forgetting about Indian Country again (2/2)
Mark Trahant: Indian Country can survive the Donald Trump era (01/30)
Harlan McKosato: Indian Health Service is in danger under President Trump (01/30)
Mark Trahant: Prepare for tribal budget cuts under President Donald Trump (01/23)
Mark Trahant: Congress moves forward with repeal of Obamacare (01/16)
Republicans take initial steps to dismantle Indian health care law (01/04)
Mark Trahant: Challenges and promises for tribes in the Donald Trump era (01/03)
Mark Trahant: Indian health care at risk with Donald Trump's administration (11/30)
Mark Trahant: Funding Indian health in the era of Donald Trump (11/21)
Opinion: Fulfill promise to establish office for Indian men's health (11/11)
Tribes working to protect Indian health with Donald Trump in office (11/11)

Copyright © Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Stay Connected:
On Facebook

On Twitter

On Google+

On SoundCloud
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Supreme Court hands defeat to tribal interests in sovereignty case (4/25)
Matthew Fletcher: 'Gamesmanship' brings defeat in Supreme Court (4/25)
Supreme Court relists petition in Gun Lake Tribe gaming land case (4/25)
Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute team wins NASA prize (4/25)
Former top Bureau of Indian Affairs official joins Washington firm (4/25)
Native Sun News Today: Groups fight uranium mining in Black Hills (4/25)
Cronkite News: Budget deadline falls on Donald Trump's 100th day (4/25)
Mary Annette Pember: Indian Child Welfare Act heals our families (4/25)
André Cramblit: Tribes must make language survival a top priority (4/25)
Cowlitz Tribe welcomes big crowd to $510M casino in Washington (4/25)
Pojoaque Pueblo loses big decision in gaming dispute with state (4/24)
Supreme Court takes no action on long-running tribal land case (4/24)
Yakama Nation landowners see $68M in Cobell buy-back offers (4/24)
Tim Giago: Sovereignty at risk with Donald Trump in White House (4/24)
Mark Trahant: Donald Trump & Republicans can't seem to govern (4/24)
Native Sun News Today: Chickasaw citizen donates prom dresses (4/24)
Steve Russell: The BEST advertisement for education in America (4/24)
Arlana Bennett: Picking cans with my father became our tradition (4/24)
Terese Mailhot: Maybe some people should be able to play Indian (4/24)
Charles Kader: Tribal communities still face threats to their lands (4/24)
3rd suspect sought in connection with death of elderly Native man (4/24)
Mashantucket Tribe expresses interest in growing industrial hemp (4/24)
Shutdown of federal government looms ahead of April 28 deadline (4/24)
Confederate monuments start coming down as Jackson stays put (4/24)
Blackfeet Nation citizens approve historic water rights settlement (4/21)
Native Sun News Today: Cheyenne River Sioux woman still walking (4/21)
James Giago Davies: Our future is not bleak but bright with promise (4/21)
Rosalyn LaPier: Tradition blends with science in tribal communities (4/21)
Simon Moya-Smith: Media continues to peddle in Indian stereotypes (4/21)
Steven Newcomb: Bill in California dehumanizes indigenous peoples (4/21)
American Indian Library Association battles Trump's big budget cut (4/21)
Navajo Nation citizen faces death penalty for murder of tribal officer (4/21)
Meskwaki Tribe diversifies economy with barbecue sauces and more (4/21)
Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe must keep fighting despite gaming win (4/21)
Native Sun News Today: Body of missing Cheyenne River man found (4/20)
Ivan Star Comes Out: True tribal histories are concealed in America (4/20)
Steve Russell: Thoughts about sovereignty and tribal governments (4/20)
Dwanna Robertson: Dispelling a common myth about tribal gaming (4/20)
Whiteclay liquor stores ordered to shut down after losing licenses (4/20)
Cherokee Nation blames pharmaceutical industry for opioid crisis (4/20)
Eastern Cherokee citizens back chief amid call for impeachment (4/20)
North Carolina woman punished for abducting Cherokee children (4/20)
Ramapough Lenape Nation denied permit for anti-pipeline camp (4/20)
Ho-Chunk Nation remains confident as rival tribe sues over casino (4/20)
Nottawaseppi Huron Band invests casino funds in unique project (4/20)
Pechanga Band reaches midway point of $285M casino expansion (4/20)
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.