Legislative: Hearing on H.R. 2662
On Wednesday, June 21, 2017, at 2:00 PM, in room 1324 Longworth House Office Building, the Subcommittee on Indian, Insular, and Alaska Native Affairs will hold a legislative hearing on H.R. 2662 (Rep. Kristi L. Noem), To amend the Indian Health Care Improvement Act to improve the recruitment and retention of employees in the Indian Health Service, restore accountability in the Indian Health Service, improve health services, and for other purposes. “Restoring Accountability in the Indian Health Service Act of 2017.”
DEMOCRATIC TOPLINE MESSAGES
- There are some positive proposals, as well as some concerns, with H.R 2662 as written. However, none of the proposed initiatives solve one of the biggest underlying problems with the Indian Heath Service (IHS) – lack of funding.
- While IHS appropriations have overall increased from FY 2008 through FY 2017, this obscures the fact that the entire service is still woefully underfunded. The IHS budget has not kept pace with medical inflation and the increases in the Native population, and longterm underfunding of the IHS is a contributing factor to American Indian and Alaska Native health disparities.
- While we are encouraged by this legislation, there are some valid concerns that need to be addressed in the language – and any solution must be coupled with increased and robust funding for IHS.