Repealing the ACA, a measure currently being taken by Congress, could slam as much as one-third of the country’s indigenous cultures. These tribes have enjoyed free healthcare through a varieties of treaties that were signed more than a century ago, treaties whose legal standing was subsumed into the ACA’s establishment in 2010. With the ACA now gasping for air, that very tribal legislation could dissipate. The health boards for nine tribes, as well as the NIHB and the National Congress of American Indians contacted president Obama last month in order to plead for the continued existence of tribal healthcare legislation. One of their leading concerns regarded the Indian Health Care Improvement Act of 1976 and the rework that it gained in 2010.


Geoffrey Strommer, an attorney of tribal law, remarked that a less-than-surgical repeal of the ACA could lead to a catastrophe. The IHCIA defines that tribes can employ any doctor from one state as if that doctor were licensed in another and also covers elder and long-term care. The ACA allowed tribal clinics to bill Medicare and required insurance companies and Medicaid to take priority billing.


Tribes within North Dakota, a state with expanded Medicaid funding, used to rely upon private insurance to pay for what the Indian Health Service could not. Should Medicaid dissolve or diminish, it would render procedures like cancer screening and colonoscopies unfeasible; Medicaid funding accounted for more than 13% of the IHS’s total budget for 2016. New Mexico Senator, and incoming vice-chair of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, Tom Udall has stepped forward to ensure that Native Americans remain enrolled into Medicaid, commenting that reduced federal assistance would only be detrimental to the quality of life among the First Nations. Udall’s state has more than 132,000 tribal members enrolled in the federal program.


Categories: National Congress of American Indians, Native American

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