April 15, 2015 |  Issue 15-11




Tribal Self-Governance Consultation Conference

April 26-30, 2015

Reno, NV


White House Conference on Aging 2015 American Indian/Alaska Native Listening Session

May 6, 2015

Norman, OK 


Secretary's Tribal Advisory Committee Meeting

June 2-3, 2015

Washington, DC


NIHB Annual Consumer Conference

September 21-24, 2015

Washington, DC

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In This Issue 


NIHB Updates

Thank you to all of you who made the National Indian Health Board's (NIHB) 6th Annual National Tribal Public Health Summit a major success!  We were very excited to see over 400 friends and supporters of Tribal public health from across Indian Country join us in Palm Springs, California for this great event. 


Stay tuned to NIHB's website for uploaded presentations and post-conference information.   


For more information on what was discussed at the conference click here.


SAVE THE DATE - NIHB's Annual Consumer Conference will be in Washington, DC from September 21-24, 2015! 

Legislative Updates

Tribes Testify before House Appropriations Committee

On March 24 and March 25, the House Appropriations Subcommittee for Interior, Environment and Related Agencies (Interior) heard testimony from dozens of Tribes and Tribal organizations on FY 2016 budget priorities.  This committee controls annual funding for many programs affecting Indian Country including the Indian Health Service (IHS), Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the Bureau of Indian Education. 


National Indian Health Board Chairperson Lester Secatero delivered testimony on behalf of NIHB. He highlighted the need for additional funding for IHS and explained that though the IHS budget has increased over time, much of the growth was due to population growth, inflation and the full funding of contract support costs (CSC).  Mr. Secatero said, "As the Committee is aware, historical trauma, poverty, and a lack of adequate resources continue to plague Tribal communities...[Health] disparities are not surprising when you look at the amount spent per capita in the Indian health care system."


The Subcommittee members present reiterated their support for Indian Health programs and vowed to continue support as they draft the FY 2016 Interior appropriations bill.  Providing additional assistance around substance abuse and behavioral health, purchased/referred care, and dental health were key priorities of the Members present. 


Other Tribal organizations testifying on the same panel included the California Rural Indian Health Board, Southern Indian Health Council, and Riverside-San Bernardino County Indian Health, Inc.  who shared many of the same Tribal health priorities as NIHB. 


Special Diabetes Program for Indians Two Year Renewal Clears Congress 

Last night, the U.S. Senate passed a two (2) year renewal of the Special Diabetes Program for Indians (SDPI).  The renewal was contained in a larger bill called: "H.R. 2 - The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015."   The measure passed the Senate by a bipartisan vote of 92-8.  This follows action by the U.S. House of Representatives on March 26, 2015, which also passed the legislation by a bipartisan vote.  President Obama is expected to sign the legislation into law. 


SDPI is one of many programs in this legislation.  Other provisions included a 2-year authorization of the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and a permanent adjustment of the Medicare physician payment formula.  You can read a summary of the legislation here


SDPI provides critical programs that are helping our Tribal communities prevent and address complications and burdens of Type 2 diabetes. The newly-passed legislation funds SDPI at $150 million per year, which is the same as the current level. This program will now expire on September 30, 2017. 


You can learn more about SDPI at www.nihb.org/sdpi 


On Monday, March 23, the House of Representatives passed the Native American Housing and Self-Determination Act (NAHASDA) by a  vote of 297- 98. The bill, H.R 360, is the same language that passed the House of Representatives late last year, which was ultimately not considered by the U.S. Senate.  

Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) has also introduced legislation in the Senate - S. 710.  The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs had a hearing on the legislation on March 18, 2015. 
Administration Updates

White House Conference on Aging Tribal Listening Session

The 2015 White House Conference on Aging invites you to participate in an American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) Listening Session for older AI/AN Americans, caregivers, families, researchers, leaders in the field of aging, and other stakeholders from across Indian Country.


This Session is free and open to all AI/AN Elders and Stakeholders. This session will take place at the National Center for Employee Development (NCED), 2801 State Highway 9, East, Norman, OK 73071-1104 on May 6 from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. in room C.


This session will provide an opportunity for elders and stakeholders to share their views and priorities with respect to these issues: Retirement Security, Healthy Aging, Long-term Services and Supports, and Elder Justice. Written testimonies for the record can be submitted up to 30 days following this session. Please submit your testimony to: Cynthia.LaCounte@acl.hhs.gov


Click here for more information. 



Generation Indigenous Kickoff Event for Tribal Youth! - April 23rd  

Native Youth are  invited to attend a kickoff event for the White House's Generation Indigenous InitiativePresident Obama launched the Gen-I Initiative at the 2014 White House Tribal Nations Conference to focus on improving the lives of Native youth by removing the barriers that stand between Native youth and their opportunity to succeed. Through new investments and increased engagement, this initiative takes a comprehensive, culturally appropriate approach to ensure all young Native people can reach their full potential.


Join representatives from The White House, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Administration for Native Americans, and the Gathering of Nations Pow Wow for this exciting kickoff event! Native youth in Grades 9-12 are eligible to attend on Thursday, April 23rd, to learn about Gen-I and to take the Gen-I Challenge to make a positive impact in their communities!  


The event will be held on Thursday, April 23, 11:30 AM - 4:00 PM at the Albuquerque Convention Center. Registration will open at 11:30 AM, the event will begin promptly at 1 PM MDT.  Lunch will be provided. 


You can Register Here. Learn more about the event here. 


CMS Releases Important Information regarding the ACA Indian Exemption

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has updated its www.healthcare.gov/tribal website and developed a separate page just for Indian exemptions.   As you know, all individuals are required to have health care coverage or have a health care coverage exemption.  Failing to have health care coverage or an exemption will subject you to a tax penalty if you file a federal income tax return.  American Indians and Alaska Natives are eligible for an exemption by filing for an exemption through the application process or through their federal income tax return.  This process is outlined on the page here.  


CMS also recently developed a detailed list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) regarding the Indian Exemptions as well as updated their CMS Tribal Affairs Spotlight page with additional information.  



HHS Releases Marketplace Enrollment Report for 2015 Open Enrollment Period

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released a new report on enrollment in the Health Insurance Marketplaces during the 2015 Open Enrollment period from November 15, 2014 - February 15, 2015.   The report provides summary data for all 50 states and the District of Columbia, including data relating to individuals who qualified for an "in-line" or other Special Enrollment Period.  According to the report, nearly 11.7 million people selected or were automatically reenrolled into a 2015 health insurance plan through the Marketplace during the Open Enrollment period.    In addition, more than 8 in 10 individuals with a 2015 plan selection through the Marketplaces Healthcare.gov states qualified for an advance premium tax credit with an average value of $263 per person per month.


According to the report, approximately 26,363 American Indians or Alaska Natives enrolled during this period.  


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