Senate Committee Approves Bill That Would Reauthorize American Indian Health Care Improvement Act
The Senate Indian Affairs Committee on Thursday by voice vote approved a bill (S 1200) that would revise and reauthorize the Indian Health Care Improvement Act, CQ Today reports. The legislation seeks to improve availability and quality of health care services for American Indians, many of whom have access to care through only Indian Health Service programs, according to CQ Today. Enactment of the bill would mark the first reauthorization of the law in more than eight years, committee Chair Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) said. The bill would authorize through fiscal year 2017 "such sums as are necessary" to fund IHS.
In addition, the legislation would establish grant programs for demonstration projects to test proposals to improve access to health services for American Indians and would authorize funds for suicide prevention efforts that target American Indian youths. The bill also would amend the Social Security Act to address Medicare, Medicaid and SCHIP reimbursements to American Indians. Dorgan said, "I want to move this bill," adding, "This reauthorization has been kicking around, back and forth, back and forth, for a long time" (Kroepsch, CQ Today, 5/10). The House Natural Resources Committee last month passed a companion bill (HR 1328) (Kaiser Health Disparities Report, 4/27).