June 18, 2014  |  Issue 14-18




31st Annual Consumer Conference 

 Albuquerque, New Mexico

September 8-11, 2014 


NIHB 2014 Native Youth Health Summit

Navajo Nation

September 5-8, 2014


11th Annual Direct Service Tribes National Meeting

Albuquerque, NM

July 9-10, 2014



3:00-4:30 PM ET


Code: 148483


Genetics Symposium: A Spectrum of Perspectives: Native Peoples and Genetic Research

National Museum of the American Indian

June 23, 2014, 9-5 PM EDT 



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In This Issue



U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Cancels Six Federal Trademark Registrations for the Washington Redsk*ns


Legislation Introduced to Extend Medicare Like Rate Cap to all Nonhospital Services at IHS


FY 2015 Appropriations Continues to Move Ahead in Congress


President Obama Visits Indian Country


CMS All Tribes' Call


U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Cancels Six Federal Trademark Registrations for the Washington Redsk*ns

Today, the United States Patent and Trademark Office has canceled six federal trademark registrations for the name of the Washington Redsk*ns.  As grounds for cancellation the Patent and Trademark Office ruled that the name is "disparaging to Native Americans" and cannot be trademarked under federal law that prohibits the protection of offensive or disparaging language.  The plaintiff's lead counsel said in a press release that they "presented a wide variety of evidence - including dictionary definitions and other reference works, newspaper clippings, movie clips, scholarly articles, expert linguist testimony, and evidence of the historic opposition by Native American groups - to demonstrate that the word 'redsk*n' is an ethnic slur."  The defendants in this case will most likely appeal the ruling and the trademark protection will continue through the appeals process.  


For additional information see the links below:



Legislation Introduced to Extend Medicare Like Rate Cap to all Nonhospital Services at IHS

Last week, Congresswoman Betty McCollum (D-MN) and Congressman Tom Cole (R-OK) introduced H.R. 4843, "the Native Contract and Rate Expenditure (CARE) Act'' which would extend the Medicare-like rate cap on payments made by Purchased/ Referred Care (PRC) (formerly Contract Health Services) programs at the Indian Health Service (IHS) and Tribal levels to all Medicare participating providers and suppliers. The National Indian Health Board (NIHB) worked closely with Congresswoman McCollum and Congressman Cole's offices to assist in the development of this legislation.


This legislation follows a report issued by the Government Accountability Office in 2013 that found that IHS could save millions of dollars by using Medicare-Like Rates to all PRC payments, resulting in an additional 253,000 patient visits per year. This small change will ensure that precious PRC dollars go much further and that IHS and Tribes are reimbursing all physicians in the same cost effective way as other federal health programs including the Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs.


In order to get the legislation swiftly moved through Congress, NIHB is encouraging outreach to individual Members of Congress in support of co-sponsorship.

  1. Visit www.house.gov and find your Representative by typing in your zip code.

  2. Call the Washington, DC office of your Representative and say "Hello, my name is ___ and I am requesting that Congressman ____ co-sponsor H.R. 4843 - the Native CARE Act. This legislation would save millions of dollars each year, would have no cost to the federal government, and help ensure that American Indians and Alaska Natives are getting the care they need."

  3. Tell NIHB! After you call, please contact NIHB's Director of Congressional Relations, Caitrin Shuy so that we can follow up with the legislative staff. (cshuy@nihb.org or (202) 507-4085.)


You can read NIHB's statement on the legislation here.  You can view talking points on the legislation here. You can also view the text of H.R. 4843 here.

FY 2015 Appropriations Continues to Move Ahead in Congress

This week both the House and Senate are in session and will be considering several measures for Fiscal Year 2015 Appropriations with the deadline of September 30, 2014 (the end of the current fiscal year) in mind. The House has passed four of twelve Appropriations measures so far, and expects to consider the Department of Defense Appropriations bill later this week. The Senate has not passed any appropriations bills yet, but is expected to consider three this week.


However, the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations measure, which contains funding for the Indian Health Service and many other programs serving Indian Country, has yet to be considered. The delay in bringing this forward is largely due to other environmental provisions in the bill unrelated to American Indians and Alaska Native programs. Currently, it is unclear if this legislation will be considered or if these programs will be subject to a continuing resolution.  

President Obama Visits Indian Country

Last Friday, President Obama, made the 4th visit in history by a President to a federally recognized Tribe. The Standing Rock Indian Reservation in North Dakota hosted the President and First Lady. Those in attendance included Governor Jack Dalrymple, Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewel, as well as Tribal leaders and Tribal members from surrounding areas. Congressional members who attended were: Senator Heidi Heitkamp, Senator John Hoeven, and Congressman Kevin Cramer.  The President's first visit to Indian Country took place before he was in office at the Crow Nation in Montana. 


After enjoying the dancing, the singing from six young children who sang him a song in their Native language, and accepting their gifts, the President thanked everyone in attendance and began his speech with addressing the historical failure to recognize the government-to-government relationship between Tribes and the United States.  He reminded the audience that when he ran for President, he promised to change that, to honor the sacred trust and to respect the sovereignty amongst Tribal Nations.  He discussed how the administration is eager to partner with Tribes and to address all the issues that Indian Country has to face and to demonstrate what a real government-to-government partnership can be. Some of the highlights the President touched on was signing into law of the Cobell Settlement, Land Buy Back Program and a $1.9 billion fund to "consolidate individual Indian lands and restore them to Tribal trust lands", as well as the Affordable Care Act for Native Americans to have access to quality and affordable health care.   


The President also stressed the importance of protecting and ensuring the Native children's future. The children are the future, and they need to be believed and invested in by not only in Indian Country but from the White House as well.  The President ended his speech by saying, "you don't have to give up your culture to also be part of the American family. That's what I believe. And coming here today, makes me believe in that much more. Hetchetu welo."


For more of President Barack Obama's speech, visit: Remarks by the President 

CMS All Tribes' Call

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is hosting an ALL TRIBES' CALL to obtain advice and input regarding cost sharing reductions for American Indians and Alaska Natives who enroll in closed panel Qualified Health Plans (QHPs) in the Health Insurance Marketplace.  A closed panel QHP is a type of health maintenance organization (HMO) that does not cover services furnished by a provider outside of the HMO'S network of providers.


For more information, click here.

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