NIHB Media Release                   


Media Contact: Caitrin Shuy at or 202-374-9966


January 29, 2015


"Our People continue to live sicker and die younger than other Americans,"

Said the National Indian Health Board Before Senate Committee on Indian Affairs January 28th Hearing -

Highlighting Native American priorities for the 114th Congress


NIHB Executive Director Testifies before Senate Committee on Indian Affairs
NIHB Executive Director Stacy Bohlen testifies before the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs on January 28, 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C. - On Wednesday, January 28, the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs held its first hearing during the 114th Congress to gain an overview of American Indian and Alaska Native priority issues.  National Indian Health Board (NIHB) Executive Director Stacy A. Bohlen (Sault Ste. Marie Chippewa) testified before the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs in an oversight hearing to explore "Indian Country Priorities for the 114th Congress." 


In his first hearing as Committee Chair, Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) noted in his introductory remarks that: "As Chairman, my top priorities are jobs, energy and natural resource development, healthcare, education, juvenile justice, and tribal self-governance."  New Committee Vice Chairman John Tester (D-MT) said: "I look forward to working with...everybody...on this committee to move Indian Country forward."  The hearing clearly demonstrated the continuing bi-partisan, collaborative commitment to continue being the legislative nexus for the advancement of issues important to American Indians and Alaska Natives.


"Our Peoples continue to live sicker and die younger than other Americans," said Bohlen.  "Our lifespan is 4.2 years less than other Americans and on some reservations, like Wind River - home of the Northern Arapaho Tribe in Wyoming - where life expectancy is only 49 years. ...It's more than time that we must stand together to change these realities."  Affirming the federal government's trust responsibility for American Indian and Alaska Native Health, the NIHB set forth an agenda for change.  NIHB will diligently work with the Committee to advance these Tribal objectives.


Ms. Bohlen set forth the Tribal Health agenda, including such issues as:

  • Mandatory and increased Appropriations for the Indian Health Service
  • Advance appropriations for Indian Health Service (like the Veteran's Administration)
  • Exemption for Tribes from all sequestration and rescission cuts
  • Medicare-Like Rates for Purchased Referred Care for non-hospital providers
  • Exemption for Tribes from the Employer Mandate in the affordable Care Act (ACA)
  • Correcting the Definition of Indian in the ACA
  • 5-year renewal of the Special Diabetes Program for Indians at $200 million per year
  • Oversight on implementation of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act (IHCIA)
  • Long-term, sustainable methods to fully fund Contract Support Costs
  • Investment into Indian Country's public health infrastructure

Located in Washington DC on Capitol Hill, the NIHB, a non-profit organization, provides a variety of services to tribes, Area Health Boards, Tribal organizations, federal agencies, and private foundations.  The NIHB continually presents the Tribal perspective while monitoring federal legislation, and opening opportunities to network with other national health care organizations to engage their support on Indian health care issues.  Please visit for more information.


To read NIHB's full written statement, please click here.


To view a video of the hearing, please click here




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