Indianz.Com > COVID-19 > Naat’áanii Development Corporation (Navajo Nation)
Posted: March 29, 2020


March 27, 2020

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz (Navajo Nation), March 27, 2020 – Naat’áanii Development Corporation expressed disappointment in Navajo President Jonathan Nez’s veto of Navajo legislation 0069-20, which requests the Governor of New Mexico to activate the Naat’áanii Development Corporation (NDC) – Molina Healthcare, Incorporated Indian Managed Care Entity to gain access to Medicaid dollars to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 on the Navajo Nation.


“The President fails to grasp that the Navajo Nation and the entire country is in an emergency of the highest level, and we need all the resources necessary to confront this health crisis. This is no time for grandstanding or bickering, it is time to come together to build partnerships that place the Navajo people first to meet their healthcare needs,” said Council Delegate Daniel Tso, Chairman of the Health, Education and Human Services Committee. “Where is his leadership? We know that 5,000 coronavirus testing kits, medical and cleaning supplies, food boxes and resources have already been secured through the Navajo Managed Care Organization. These are critically needed, immediate resources to help us combat COVID-19. We could immediately have more resources available, but our President is failing to put the Navajo people first.”


In a March 27th letter sent to President Nez requesting his support, Molina Healthcare outlined that 5,000 testing kits for COVID-19 were to be provided to Navajo healthcare entities. “…We have guaranteed 5,000 rapid testing kits for COVID-19 and 240 N95 masks, and 200 first aid kits to be supplied to IHS and 638 facilities. We have also donated over $25,000 and partnered with on-the-ground Navajo community organizations and volunteers to identify and safely distribute food and supplies to families that are living in remote areas and vulnerable due to health and economic concerns. We are also in conversations with suppliers and manufacturers to purchase cleaning supplies, hand sanitizers, medical supplies, gloves and other basic needs that we are hearing is needed on the ground.” (See attached Molina letter)


“I am shocked and dismayed that President Nez and Vice-President Lizer cannot understand the valuable resources we are leaving on the table as we continue to wait to launch the Navajo Managed Care Organization,” said Manley Begay, Jr., Chairman of the Naat’áanii Development Corporation. “We can do so much more when we leverage Medicaid resources in a targeted manner to reach our most vulnerable community members. This is a time of crisis. Our elders need assistance, families need resources and every Navajo relative needs the best quality of care at this time—it’s careless thinking and irresponsible leadership to not seek ways to leverage Medicaid funding to combat the novel Coronavirus,” said Begay. “I do not understand what is wrong with our President.”


Molina Healthcare’s letter notes that the U.S. Congress increased Medicaid funding to states by 6.2 percent.  As the letter states, “the increased Medicaid funding is going out to the states and will be used in those communities. The IMCE gives a mechanism for the Navajo Nation to also have that increased Medicaid funding available to help its people.” Naat’áanii Development Corporation estimates that the increased Medicaid funding is potentially up to $40 million to help I.H.S. and 638 hospitals combat Covid-19.


Activation of the IMCE has been stalled since January 24, 2020 when the Navajo Nation Council passed legislation requesting the State of New Mexico to issue all necessary approvals to launch an Indian Managed Care Entity (IMCE) in New Mexico. More recently, on Friday, March 20, 2020 the Navajo Nation Council unanimously passed an emergency Legislation 0069-20 (attached). This is the second legislation passed by the Council to authorize all necessary approval to activate the IMCE.



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