October 21, 2013  |  Issue 13- 30


In This Issue



Save the Dates for 2014 Public Health Summit and 2014 Annual Consumer Conference



Seeking Co-Sponsors for Indian Health Service Advance Appropriations 

  • SAVE THE DATE -  5th Annual NIHB Tribal Public Health Summit, Billings, MT, April 1-3, 2014.


  • SAVE THE DATE - 31st NIHB Annual Consumer Conference, Navajo Area, September 22-25, 2014.  



Stay tuned to www.nihb.org in the coming weeks for updates on the Public Health Summit and the Annual Consumer Conference. We hope to see you there. 


On October 16, 2013, Senator Mark Begich (D-AK) with Senator Max Baucus (D-MT), Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI), and Senator Tom Udall (D-NM), introduced a bill (S.1575) that would streamline the Definition of Indian in the Affordable Care Act. This is an important first step in ensuring that all American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/ANs) receive the benefits and protections intended for them in the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The bill was referred to the Senate Finance Committee.


The "Definitions of Indian" in the ACA are not consistent with the definitions already used by the Indian Health Service (IHS), and other government agencies. The ACA definitions, which currently require that a person is a member of a federally recognized Tribe or an Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) corporation, are narrower than those used by IHS, Medicaid and CHIP; thereby leaving out a sizeable population of AI/ANs that the ACA was intended to benefit and protect.


Unless the definition of Indian in the ACA is changed, many AI/ANs will not be eligible for the special protections and benefits intended for them in the law. These benefits include cost-sharing and monthly enrollment benefits. This bill will also create statutory language to guarantee that AI/ANs are not subjected to tax penalties for not having insurance, even though they are eligible for Indian health care programs.  


Senator Begich has said that he is optimistic that this will be passed this year as part of a larger measure. NIHB encourages you to contact your Senators to ask them to co-sponsor this important legislation (S.1575). For more questions on bill, please contact NIHB's Manager of Congressional Relations, Caitrin Shuy, at (202) 507-4085 or cshuy@nihb.org 


As many of you may know, the federal government shutdown officially ended on October 17. Just before the U.S. government was set to default, the House and Senate agreed to a measure that would fund the government through January 15, 2014 and would lift the debt limit through February 7, 2014.


The deal also created a conference committee to reconcile the differences between the House and Senate Budget resolutions, which are currently $91 billion apart. That committee must reach an agreement by December 13. After that point, the two chambers will have to come up with its final FY 2014 appropriations bills. If they fail to reach a budget agreement for FY 2014, automatic sequestration cuts would occur. The ability for the House and Senate to reach an agreement for FY 2014 is uncertain at this point.


Please stay tuned to NIHB for updates about the FY 2014 budget. 


gSeeking Co-Sponsors for Indian Health Service Advance Appropriations 

As NIHB reported last week, Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Representative Don Young (R-AK) have introduced legislation to provide advance appropriations for the Indian Health Service (IHS). The bills are both titled "Indian Health Service Advance Appropriations Act. The House number is H.R. 3229 and the Senate bill is S.1570.


Advance appropriations would mean that IHS would receive its funding allocation one year in advance, thereby preventing the agency from being subject to automatic sequestration cuts and government shutdowns. It would also give Tribal leaders and health directors greater time to plan, thereby enhancing the quality of care that IHS, Tribal and Urban facilities are able to provide to American Indians and Alaska Natives.


NIHB encourages you to contact your Senators and Representatives to ask them to co-sponsor S. 1570 and H.R. 3229. For more questions these bills, please contact NIHB's Manager of Congressional Relations, Caitrin Shuy, at (202) 507-4085 or cshuy@nihb.org.


You can also CLICK HERE for more information.

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