“The federal government promised free healthcare to tribes in treaties more than a century ago. The legislation that protects and modernizes those treaty promises was rolled into the ACA when it became law in 2010. With the ACA on the chopping block, this legislation could vanish, tribal leaders say.” N. Subbaraman, BuzzFeed
“Nine tribal health boards, the National Indian Health Board, and political groups including the National Congress of American Indians sent a letter to Congress in December , asking to preserve sections that addressed healthcare for tribes.
Repealing these provisions and the IHCIA (Indian Health Care Improvement Act) now would have disastrous consequences for the Indian health system, they wrote, with urban and rural health centers losing 3rd party revenue, legal authorities, and life-saving programs.
Of primary concern are a series of amendments to the IHCIA, rules that were bundled in with the ACA. Originally passed in 1976, the law laid out the responsibilities of the Indian Health Service, which provides healthcare to tribes. But it was revised substantially in 2010…Senate Republicans took the first steps towards repealing the ACA by voting for repeal plans as soon as January 27, 2017. Similar actions are expected from the House of Representatives… the result could be a lot of harm to the Indian health care system as it works today, said Geoffrey Strommer…an attorney who works on tribal law and healthcare.
From my perspective taking away Medicaid would be devastating, said Donald Warne, chair of the Department of Public Health at North Dakota State University. In North Dakota, one of the states that has expanded Medicaid, private insurance has begun to cover many services that the underfunded Indian Health Service cannot provide. If Medicaid were to go away, We can’t even do things like cancer screening or a colonoscopy, Warne said. Taking insurance from American Indians or any other population will kill people.”