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Press Release

Committee Considers Solutions for Tribal Health Care, Individual Tribal Eligibility for Need-Based Federal Programs

  • IP Subcommittee

Today, the Subcommittee on Indian and Insular Affairs held a legislative hearing on two bills to hold the Indian Health Service accountable for health related services provided to tribal members by private providers and to amend the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act and solve a discrepancy in means-tested benefits for Alaska Natives. Subcommittee Chair Harriet Hageman (R-Wyo.) issued the following statement in response:

"While both of today’s bills are technical and provide seemingly small fixes to longstanding programs, they will enable changes that will provide great value to individuals that utilize these programs. Often, Congress can be perceived as only focusing on the 'big ticket' or national items, but we all know that these local issues genuinely have a major impact, particularly on Native individual’s lives."


H.R. 7516, the Purchased and Referred Care Improvement Act, introduced by U.S. Rep. Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.), would amend the Indian Health Care Improvement Act to ensure that the Indian Health Service is liable for payments related to purchased/referred care services. Moreover, the bill seeks to establish procedures for reimbursing patients who have paid out-of-pocket for authorized purchased/referred care services, thus alleviating the financial strain on tribal members.

H.R. 2687, introduced by U.S. Rep. Mary Peltola (R-Alaska), would exclude distributions or benefits from settlement trusts for aged, blind, or disabled Alaska Natives when assessing eligibility for federal means-tested benefits, according to the current definitions of the Social Security Act. 

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