July 23, 2014  |  Issue 14-23




31st Annual Consumer Conference 

September 8-11, 2014

 Albuquerque, New Mexico 


NIHB 2014 Native Youth Health Summit

Navajo Nation

September 5-8, 2014


NIEA Legislative Advocacy Day

Capitol Visitors Center

Washington, DC

July 30, 2014

9:00-11:30 AM

Follow NIHB on Twitter
Like National Indian Health Board on Facebook!

In This Issue



NIHB Chairperson Cathy Abramson Testifies on Advance Appropriations for IHS in House Subcommittee 


House Appropriations Committee Advances FY 2015 Interior Spending Bill 


August is Coming - help support SDPI by requesting a Congressional site visit!  


Call To Action-- National Indian Education Association Legislative Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill 


Courts Issue Contradictory Rulings on Affordable Care Act Subsidies 


CALL FOR PROPOSALS: 2014 NIHB Annual Consumer Conference 


ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS: 2014 NIHB Native Youth Health Summit 


NIHB Traveling to Indian Country for Affordable Care Act Training 


Capitol Hill Update


NIHB Chairperson Cathy Abramson Testifies on Advance Appropriations for IHS in House Subcommittee

On July 15, 2014, NIHB Chairperson Cathy Abramson testified before the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Indian and Alaska Native Affairs in support of H.R. 3229 which would provide advance appropriations for the Indian Health Service (IHS).  The written testimony can be found here , and you can view the video of the hearing here.  The testimony on H.R. 3229 starts at 1:19:30.


Maniilaq Association President/ CEO Tim Schuerch also testified in support of H.R. 3229.  While NIHB provided a national perspective, Maniilaq provided examples of how delays in appropriations impede the day-to-day management of health delivery. Both testimonies made it clear that advance appropriations would avoid wasteful spending and provide a better continuum of care for American Indians and Alaska Natives.


Before this legislation will advance in Congress, it is critical that we gather additional co-sponsors to the legislation. Here's how you can help:

  1. Pass a resolution or send a letter to Congress in support of IHS advance appropriations. You can view samples here: http://nihb.org/legislative/advance_appropriations.php 


  2. Send #AdvanceIHS postcards to your member of Congress - please email jdaniel@nihb.org to request postcards.


  3. Tweet at your Member of Congress or Congressional Leader - "@___guarantee financial security for American Indians and American Indian veterans. #AdvanceIHS


  4. Cut and Paste this into Facebook: "Join me in telling Congress to protect American Indian and Alaska Native patients from Washington's budget battles. I'm taking action with NIHB to support IHS advance appropriations. #AdvanceIHS"  

Please contact Caitrin Shuy, Director of Congressional Relations, at (202) 507-4085 or cshuy@nihb.org with any questions on IHS advance appropriations. 


House Appropriations Committee Advances FY 2015 Interior Spending Bill

On July 15, the Appropriations Committee passed the FY 2015 Interior Appropriations bill by a vote of 29-19, on a largely party-line vote. The legislation would provide an increase of $208 million for IHS which is $8 million more than the President's request.  It gives an increase for Purchased / Referred care of $51 million and fully funds contract support costs. 


The accompanying committee report also includes language that supports expanding Medicare-Like Rates for IHS purchased/referred care beyond hospital services.  It also includes language that addresses inconsistent definitions of Indian across "various federal health programs," in order to address the definitions of Indian in the Affordable Care Act. NIHB will continue to work with Congress and the Administration to ensure that this definition is clear so that all IHS-eligible American Indians and Alaska Natives have access to health benefits intended for them in the law. Click here to read more about this issue.


You can read the full committee report here. (IHS begins on page 83)


You can view a chart line-item chart of the proposed House legislation here.


With a compressed legislative schedule between now and the November elections, and partisan divisions on appropriations priorities, it is likely that the federal government will be headed for a continuing resolution to keep the government funded past September 30. 


August is Coming -- help support SDPI by requesting a Congressional Site Visit!

The Special Diabetes Program for Indians (SDPI) is funded only through September 30, 2015. We need to act now to build support in Congress for the seamless continuation of this life-saving program. During August, Members of Congress will be working in their local areas, and this is a perfect time to invite them to visit your SDPI program!  


Site visits to your Tribe's SDPI location are an effective way for Members of Congress to see firsthand how federal dollars are working and saving money and lives at home. You are the faces. You are the stories. With your continued support, we will get this program renewed!  


NIHB is stepping up to be your partner in this effort by providing resources like an SDPI Site Visit Toolkit, ongoing communications, and staff support to ensure you can schedule and host a successful visit with your Members of Congress. Click here for a Toolkit on how to host a SDPI site visit.


So please, join with NIHB and participate in this exciting effort. Together we can make a real difference and ensure a strong and continued federal investment in SDPI.


You can learn more about past SDPI site visits and download Fact Sheets by visiting: http://www.nihb.org/sdpi/host.php  



Call To Action-- National Indian Education Association Legislative Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill

On Wednesday, July 30th, the National Indian Education Association (NIEA) invites Tribal leaders, language stakeholders, and immersion schools to Capitol Hill for a day of advocacy and information-sharing to protect and advance Native language immersion schools.


Click here to view more information on this Legislative Action Day!

Administration Update


Courts Issue Contradictory Rulings on Affordable Care Act Subsidies

On July 22, two federal courts came to contradictory decisions on interpretations of language in the Affordable Care Act (PL 111-148) (the "Act"). At issue are health insurance subsidies to be paid to individuals in states that use the federal health insurance exchange (also referred to as marketplace). In the Act, the section on health insurance subsidies states that subsidies can be paid to anyone who signs up for coverage in "an Exchange established by the State." The section does not mention the federal exchange.


The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Affordable Care Act does not authorize the IRS to provide premium subsidies on the federal marketplace exchange. Coming to the opposite conclusion, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the IRS does have this authority.


While the path forward is unclear at this juncture, the issue could be headed to the Supreme Court.  You can read more about these cases here.

NIHB Updates

The National Indian Health Board (NIHB) invites proposals for the 2014 Annual Consumer Conference, "Advancing Health Care through Consultation, Technology and Tradition." This year's conference will focus on the following tracks:


Medicare, Medicaid and Health Care Reform 

Strategic Action: Budget, Policy and Advocacy
Health Information Technology
Health Promotion/Disease Prevention
Youth Health and Public Health
Tribal Oral Health


NIHB encourages presenters addressing the top Tribal health priorities, as identified by American Indians and Alaska Natives.  Click here for online application and more information at www.nihb.org.

ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS: 2014 NIHB Native Youth Health Summit

The National Indian Health Board is proud to announce that we are currently accepting applications for this year's Native Youth Health Summit.  The Summit this year is being hosted by the Navajo Nation and will take place in Window Rock, AZ, September 4-9, 2014 as an official pre-conference event to the Annual Consumer Conference.  The Youth Summit always serves to energize all youth and adults involved. There is no better investment in our future than investing in our youth. 


The Summit will allow participants to develop their own digital stories that they can then take back home to share with their Tribes, Health Board, Area and friends.  The Summit will also feature fitness activities, educational forums, and some fun activities that will bring the participants outside and interacting with the community. The Youth Summit is a wonderful and exciting opportunity to assist youth to grow in their own health advocacy and knowledge. 


The application packet and additional information is available online at http://nihb.org/communications/acc_2014_youth_summit.php.  The packet contains information on deadlines, application process, travel, fees, agenda, roles and responsibilities for both youth participants and adult chaperones. The packet also includes actual application forms that the youth will need to completed and submit to NIHB by July 31st


If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Robert Foley, Acting Director of Public Health Programs and Policy, at rfoley@nihb.org

NIHB Traveling to Indian Country for Affordable Care Act Training

This summer, NIHB will be traveling to many locations in Indian Country to provide training on the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The law offers new opportunities for Indian Country because it allows American Indians and Alaska Natives increased access to those health services not provided onsite at the IHS facility, and will increase the continuity of care.  The ACA also reinforces the government-to-government relationship that Tribes have with the Federal Government, as it permanently reauthorizes the Indian Health Care Improvement Act, which is a vital component of our health care delivery system.


This summer NIHB will be holding several training sessions across Indian Country including locations in Navajo Nation.  Topics in the training include:  

  • Overview of Affordable Care Act (ACA)

  • Health Insurance Marketplace

  • Medicaid Expansion and CHIP

  • Exemption Waivers

  • Large Employer Shared Responsibility Provision of the ACA

  • New Opportunities for Direct Service Tribes with 638 and Purchased/ Referred Care

  • Implications for Tribal Communities and Individuals


You can view the full schedule here.  


If you are interested in requesting a training for your area or community, please contact Dawn Coley, Tribal Health Care Reform Outreach and Education Program Manager, at dcoley@nihb.org or April Hale, Tribal Health Care Reform Outreach and Education Communications Coordinator, at ahale@nihb.org, or call NIHB at 202-507-4070. You may visit www.nihb.org/tribalhealthreform for information about the trainings.  

926 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20003
Main Phone: 202-507-4070
Fax: 202-507-4071
Thank you for visiting the Washington Report!