Senate Approves Amendments to Indian Health Care Improvement Act Reauthorization Bill
The Senate on Thursday by voice vote approved an amendment to the Indian Health Care Improvement Act reauthorization bill (S 1200) that would prevent implementation of a new Medicaid rule, CQ Today reports (Wayne, CQ Today, 2/14). The reauthorization legislation would increase the number of American Indians in health care professions, increase funds for screening and health prevention programs, request the establishment and modernization of health clinics, address access to care issues for American Indians and expand mental health care programs (Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, 1/23).
The amendment -- proposed by Sens. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), Norm Coleman (R-Minn.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) -- would prevent implementation of a rule scheduled to take effect March 3 that would end Medicaid reimbursements for ancillary services provided under case-management plans. Senate Finance Committee Chair Max Baucus (D-Mont.) in a statement said, "The rules that CMS has proposed would keep many Medicaid beneficiaries -- including members of our tribal communities -- from getting the kind of specialized care they need."
In addition, the Senate voted 95-0 to approve a substitute amendment to the bill proposed by Senate Indian Affairs Committee Chair Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.), who sponsored the legislation. The amendment, which Dorgan proposed to prevent a veto by President Bush, revised part of the bill that would have expanded federal prevailing wage requirements to projects funded under the legislation and increased proof-of-citizenship requirements for American Indians who seek health benefits.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has scheduled votes on cloture and the final passage of the legislation for Feb. 25 (CQ Today, 2/14).