The Indian Healthcare Improvement Act (IHCIA) was permanently enacted in 2010 as part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), though it is unrelated to the underlying healthcare reform legislation. Tribes fought for almost two decades to see the law passed. Previous iterations of IHCIA had been enacted, but authorization had expired by 2000. Provisions included in the ACA were a result of years of negotiations, meetings and strategy sessions led by National Indian Health Board (NIHB). Tribes worked collaboratively to come up with a final product that included permanent reforms that were not only impactful, but that garnered bipartisan support.
The IHCIA provides a wealth of new resources and opportunities for Tribal health care institutions, families, providers and patients. Now, with the inclusion of the permanent reauthorization of the IHCIA in the ACA, the IHS/ Tribal / Urban (I/T/U) health system has begun a new chapter in the delivery of quality health care to American Indians and Alaska Natives.
But Congress is considering legislation that may repeal portions of the Affordable Care Act. . While it currently looks like there is no effort underway to undermine the IHCIA, NIHB is working to ensure that the progress made by the permanent enactment of the IHCIA is retained. NIHB is also working to make sure that the Tribal voice is heard when it comes to the larger health reform legislation including preserving Medicaid beneifts for American Indians and Alaska Natives and other special protections and benefits. Please use the following resources to help us advocate for Tribal health priorities on Capitol Hill.