x
COVID-19 TRIBAL RESOURCE CENTER

Washington Report

An NIHB Publication

The Washington Report is an e-newsletter produced by the National Indian Health Board. Each issue contains a listing of current events on Capitol Hill, information on passed and upcoming legislation, Indian health policy analysis and action items.

Read More

Legislative Action Alerts are only sent to your inbox when legislation relevant to Indian health is introduced, debated, or voted upon. These timely alerts will provide background information and a pathway for you to get involved in the issue at hand.

Legislative

Located on Capitol Hill, the National Indian Health Board is a dedicated advocate in Congress on behalf of all Tribal Governments and American Indians/Alaska Natives. We maintain a presence in the halls of Congress, working with representatives from across the country to achieve quality, lasting health care for tribal members.

In our efforts to secure quality health care we track legislation and regulations, lead discussions on health care reform, provide recommendations and analysis of the Indian Health Service budget and educate members of Congress on the federal trust responsibility for health. We also endeavor to ensure Tribes, Tribal members, and advocates have accurate and up-to-date information related to Congressional action on Tribal healthcare issues...


2021 NIHB Legislative and Policy Agenda

Roadmap for Biden Administration to Advance American Indian/Alaska Native Health and Public Health


What's New?

Posted November 29, 2021

Government Funding Expires December 3, Congress Begins Debate This Week

The Continuing Resolution funding the federal government expires on December 3, 2021. This week Congress will begin debate and consideration of options for funding the government through the rest of the fiscal year. Those options may include either an additional short-term Continuing Resolution to allow time to negotiate a final omnibus Appropriations bill or a Continuing Resolution for the rest of the fiscal year. The White House Office of Management and Budget has advocated for full year funding through an omnibus bill.

The House of Representatives has passed its Appropriations bills for FY 2022 and recommends Indian Health Service (IHS) funding at $8.114 Billion, an increase of $1.884 Billion over the FY 2021 level. The full Senate has not passed any Appropriations bills for FY 2022. However, the Senate Committee on Appropriations recommends IHS funding at $7.61 Billion, an increase of $1.35 Billion over the FY 2021 level. The Senate Committee on Appropriations also recommends providing for Advance Appropriations for the IHS facilities and services accounts at $6.58 Billion for FY 2023. The House of Representatives' bill does not include Advance Appropriations for the IHS.

The National Indian Health Board (NIHB), joined by the Lummi Nation and other Intertribal and Area Indian Health Boards, have urged Congress to include Advance Appropriations and no less than the House-passed funding levels for the IHS in the final Appropriations measure for FY 2022. That letter can be found here. NIHB will provide updates as further Congressional action is taken.



Posted November 29, 2021

Congress Returns to a Busy December

Congress has a busy December schedule. Upon return from the holiday recess, the Senate will take up the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which provides important authorities for this nation's defense. It is considered a "must-pass" bill, which has typically been passed and signed into law nearly every year. It is rare that Congress does not pass this before the end of each year. Immediately after the NDAA, the Senate will take up the Appropriations measure which must be passed, sent over to the House of Representatives, passed, and signed into law by the President by midnight, Friday, December 3, 2021.

Congress must still address the debt ceiling before mid-December. The White House issued a brief summary of the debt ceiling and what it means to the nation and individuals. If Congress does not raise the debt ceiling, then the United States may not be able to pay for its obligations which, according to the White House summary, may include programs such as Medicare or Social Security.

In addition to these other measures, Congressional leaders have signaled their intent to pass the Budget Reconciliation measure, the Build Back Better Act, which is intended to carry out the President's domestic agenda relating to social programs, climate change, health care access, and taxation – by the end of the year. That measure has been passed by the House of Representatives and is pending in the Senate.



Posted November 29, 2021

The Budget Reconciliation measure, the Build Back Better Act, pending in the Senate

After being passed by the House of Representatives on November 19, 2021, the Build Back Better Act, H.R. 5376, was sent to the Senate where it will most likely undergo additional changes, lengthy negotiations, and perhaps program cuts before it is finalized. Senators Manchin (D-WV) and Sinema (D-AZ) have voiced concerns about the top line dollar amount which has been cut from $3.5 Trillion to approximately $1.9 Trillion. Indian program funding, including Indian health care, was also cut significantly. It is possible that figure of $1.9 Trillion may be reduced further. If so, Congress could look to any and all programs for reduction.

The National Indian Health Board provided a summary of the programs and funding for Indian health-related provisions. While negotiations on the bill continue throughout November and December, consideration of the bill may begin as early as December 6, 2021.



Posted November 22, 2021

IHS to Initiate Tribal Consultation on Distribution of American Rescue Plan Act Funds

On November 22, the Indian Health Service (IHS) released a Dear Tribal Leader Letter to initiate Tribal consultation regarding the allocation of new funds. These funds include $210 million from the American Rescue Plan Act (2021), $3.5 billion from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (2021), and $2.35 billion currently under consideration by Congress in the Build Back Better Act. These funds will be used to support a variety of needs including public health workforce activities; sanitation facilities construction; health care facilities construction and maintenance; behavioral health; and more. NIHB was actively engaged with Congressional staff during the legislative process and advocated for Indian Country's inclusion in these sources of funding. For more detail on the new funding, click here.

The virtual Tribal consultation will take place on December 14, 2021, from 1:00PM to 3:00PM EST. To join the consultation on December 14, click here. NIHB will provide talking points and support for the consultation. Written comments on the distribution of these funds are due December 23, 2021 and can be emailed to [email protected]



Posted November 22, 2021

House of Representatives Passes Major Budget Bill

On November 22, the House of Representatives passed the Build Back Better bill, H.R. 5376 (as amended) by a vote of 220-213. This bill is the Budget Reconciliation measure to carry out portions of the President's domestic agenda for social programs including child care, early education, and access to health care. A summary of the Indian health-related provisions in the bill (with the relevant amendments) is provided here.

In brief, for the specific Indian Health Service (IHS) programs, this bill includes the following in direct funding, for FY 2022, to remain available until September, 30, 2031:

  • $945 M for maintenance and improvement for IHS and tribal facilities;
  • $123.716 M for mental health and substance use prevention and treatment services, including facility renovation, construction, expansion;
  • $1 B for the health care facility priority system established in 25 U.S.C. §1631(c)(1)(A);
  • $40 M for small ambulatory construction;
  • $100 M urban Indian health care facility renovation, construction, expansion, equipping, improvement;
  • $25 M epicenters pursuant to 25 U.S.C. §1621m(a)(1)-(2); and
  • $113.284 M environmental health facilities support.

Read more



Posted November 19, 2021

Recap of the White House Tribal Nations Summit 2021

This week, the White House hosted the first Summit of Tribal Nations since 2016. Tribal leaders convened virtually with leaders from the Biden-Harris Administration, including Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden, United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra, and Dr. Anthony Fauci.

Read NIHB's Recap of the Summit

View the Recording of Day 1, 11/15/21

View the Recording of Day 2, 11/16/21



Posted November 15, 2021

President Biden Signs Infrastructure Bill into Law, Securing $3.5 Billion for Indian Health Service Sanitation Facilities Construction

On Monday, November 15, 2021, President Biden signed the Bipartisan Infrastructure bill, H.R. 3684, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act into law.

This new law is intended to carry out portions of the President's domestic agenda related to infrastructure, such as roads, bridges, and broadband. This law contains $550 billion in new spending and additional funding for existing programs. The Indian health care-related provisions include $3.5 billion for the Indian Health Service (IHS) sanitation facilities construction program and an additional $2 billion for the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program, in which telehealth is an allowable use. This sanitation funding should address the known projects of the program.

The key provisions of the $3.5 billion for the IHS sanitation facilities construction program are as follows:

  • $700 million each year for FY 2022 to FY 2026, to remain available until expended.
  • Up to $2.2 billion for projects that exceed economical unit cost and available until expended.
  • No more than 3% for salaries, expenses, and administration.
  • 0.5% for the Office of Inspector General to provide oversight of the program.
  • No funds available for IHS salaries, expenses or administration are available to Tribes under Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (ISDEAA).
  • This is one-time funding for Tribes, not recurring funding under ISDEAA.

Additionally, the Build Back Better Act is being set up for a vote during the week of November 15.



Posted November 15, 2021

Congress Continues Work on Funding the Government as the Continuing Resolution Expires December 3

Congress has passed a Continuing Resolution which will fund the government until December 3, 2021. The House of Representatives has passed its Appropriations bills for FY 2022 and recommends Indian Health Service (IHS) funding at $8.114 Billion, an increase of $1.884 Billion over the FY 2021 level. The full Senate has not passed any Appropriations bills for FY 2022.

The Senate Committee on Appropriations passed 3 of the 12 Appropriations bills in August 2021. On October 18, 2021, the Committee released a draft of the remaining 9 bills, including the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies bill which includes the Indian Health Service funding and the Labor-HHS bill which includes other Department of Health and Human Services funding such as for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Senate Committee on Appropriations recommends IHS funding at $7.61 Billion, an increase of $1.35 Billion over the FY 2021 level.

One particularly noteworthy funding authorization and level included in the Senate draft bill is $6.58 billion in advance appropriations for IHS for FY 2023. In addition, the Senate draft bill includes funding for the following two items in which NIHB has engaged:

  • $24.9 million to address Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women cases in Indian Country. The Committee recommendation includes both funding and directives under the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Indian Health Service to improve the Federal response to this epidemic; and
  • $7 million for a new Indian Boarding School Initiative to conduct a comprehensive review of the troubled legacy of federal boarding school policies.


Posted November 8, 2021

Congress Passes Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, Securing $3.5 Billion for Indian Health Service Sanitation Facilities Construction

The Chairman of the National Indian Health Board (NIHB), Chief William Smith, Vice-President of the Valdez Native Tribe, applauded final passage of the Bi-partisan Infrastructure bill, H.R. 3684, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, late Friday night, November 5, 2021. It was passed by Congress by a vote of 228-206. The bill will now head to the President to be signed into law.

This bill is intended to carry out portions of the President's domestic agenda related to infrastructure, such as roads, bridges, and broadband. This bill contains $550 million in new spending and additional funding for existing programs. The Indian health care-related provisions include $3.5 billion for the Indian Health Service (IHS) sanitation facilities construction program and an additional $2 billion for the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program in which telehealth is an allowable use. This sanitation funding should address the known projects of the program.

Read more



Posted November 5, 2021

Urge Your Lawmakers to Support Indian Health in Budget Reconciliation

This morning the House of Representatives is planning to vote on the Budget Reconciliation measure, H.R. 5376, the Build Back Better Act, which is intended to carry out the President's domestic agenda relating to social programs, child care, taxation, and various health care measures. Originally, the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs had been allocated $20.5 Billion for Native American programs, including Indian health care. Based on objections to the top line dollar figure for the entire Budget Reconciliation of $3.5 Trillion, that amount was trimmed to roughly $1.75 Trillion. As a result, Indian programs took a hit and were reduced significantly.

Continued advocacy is needed by all Tribes to ensure that these numbers for Indian health care, particularly the direct funding, do not get reduced in the final measure. .

Find your member of Congress to contact.

Read more



Posted September 22, 2021

NIHB Board Chair Testifies Before House Veterans Affairs Committee

On Wednesday September 22, the House Veterans Affairs Committee hosted a full committee hearing titled, "Veteran Suicide Prevention: Innovative Research and Expanded Public Health Efforts." The National Indian Health Board's (NIHB) Board of Directors Chairman and Alaska Area Representative Chief William Smith testified as a witness before the full committee.

Click here to read NIHB's written testimony of record. Click here to view the livestream recording of the hearing.



Posted September 20, 2021

House Passes Continuing Resolution to Avoid Government Shutdown

On Tuesday, September 20 the U.S. House of Representatives passed a temporary, stop-gap funding measure 220-211 to avoid a government shutdown from occurring on September 30. The continuing resolution would keep the federal government running, including the Indian Health Service, through December 3. The continuing resolution will now be considered in the United States Senate where the measure would give Congress nine additional weeks to negotiate spending bills for the rest of Fiscal Year 2022.



Posted September 15, 2021

House Energy & Commerce Committee Holds Markup for Budget Reconciliation

On Monday, September 13, the House Energy and Commerce Committee commenced a full committee markup on legislative recommendations for its budget reconciliation instructions, which were passed last month by the House and Senate. The Committee will negotiate $486.5 billion through instructions to address legislative issues including strengthening Affordable Care Act programs, Medicare expansion, and climate change.

NIHB has been busy working to secure Indian health funding in the Budget Reconciliation package. NIHB signed onto a Tribal Partner Organization Letter in support of Medicaid equity for AI/ANs. NIHB joined the Interorganizational letter to Congressional leadership and as well as advocating to Energy & Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone about the important and significant needs for Indian health care. The NIHB also remains active in reaching out to Indian Country through the Tribal Town Hall and other Tribal advocacy efforts.



Posted September 9, 2021

OMB to Hold Tribal Consultation on Mandatory Appropriations

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB), within the White House, will hold a Tribal consultation to seek input on the development of the President's Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 Budget.

This Tribal consultation on the President's FY 2023 Budget will be held via teleconference on Thursday, September 23, 2021 from 2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. ET. Register for the Webinar

OMB welcomes written comments as well. Please send them to [email protected] by no later than October 4, 2021

Read the Dear Tribal Leader Letter.



Posted September 9, 2021

Joint Letter to HHS on Mandatory Appropriations for IHS

On September 3rd, the National Indian Health Board (NIHB) and seven other partner organizations responded to the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Dear Tribal Leader Letter on Mandatory Appropriations. In this letter, we ask for a comprehensive, Tribally driven study in order to determine the full need of the Indian health system. NIHB also voices support for making costs associated with Contract Support Costs and Section 105(l) leases mandatory as soon as possible. Securing mandatory appropriations for the Indian Health Service has been a long-standing priority for NIHB and we will continue to work on this issue.

Read the Joint Letter.



Posted September 9, 2021

Congress Moving on Budget Reconciliation

The House of Representatives began Committee action on the $3.5 Trillion Budget Reconciliation legislation with the Natural Resources Committee reporting a $25.6 Billion measure including $2 Billion for Indian health care facility construction. Other House Committees are expected to begin the consideration of their respective legislation this week. Other significant Indian health care-related provisions totaling $3.458 Billion in the Natural Resources legislation include $140 Million for electronic health records and health IT, $150 Million for equipment, $610 Million for maintenance and improvement, $278 Million for staff quarters construction, $170 Million for environmental health and facility support, and $60 Million for small ambulatory construction.

The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs (SCIA) has yet to release its $20.5 Billion portion of the Budget Reconciliation legislation. This portion would provide for both Indian and Native Hawaiians programs including health care. It is expected to be incorporated into the larger Senate measure for consideration shortly after Senators return from recess on September 15. The Indian health care facility provisions offered by the Natural Resources Committee and the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs will have to be reconciled in some fashion in the final Budget Reconciliation legislation.

According to the 2016 IHS and Tribal Health Care Facilities Needs Assessment Report to Congress and testimony by Randy Grinnell, IHS Deputy Director of Management Operations, the total health care facilities needs are $14.542 Billion (in 2016 figures) and up to approximately $22 Billion (in 2021 figures) – far exceeding the entire SCIA allocation by $1.5 Billion. The SCIA allocation is only 0.5 percent% of the entire $3.5 Trillion Budget Reconciliation package.

NIHB has been busy working to secure Indian health funding in the Budget Reconciliation package. The NIHB joined the Interorganizational letter to Congressional leadership and as well as advocating to the SCIA leadership about the important and significant needs for Indian health care. The NIHB also remains active in reaching out to Indian Country through the Tribal Town Hall and other tribal advocacy efforts.

However, Congress needs to hear from individual Tribes too! Tribes must be engaged to help secure adequate Indian health care funding. Please contact your Senator and Representative today to ensure Indian health care receives sufficient funding in the Budget Reconciliation.



Posted August 27, 2021

NIHB Tribal Town Hall leads surge on Capitol Hill

The National Indian Health Board (NIHB) held a Tribal Town Hall on Thursday, August 26, 2021 to call Tribes to action in seeking funding in the Budget Reconciliation for Indian health programs.

Chief William Smith, Chairman of the National Indian Health Board, urged Tribal nations to be "diligent and relentless." "It will be a fight and hard work ahead of us, but our people deserve nothing less."

He was joined by Lummi Nation Councilmember, Nickolaus Lewis, Vice Chairperson of the National Indian Health Board, who echoed these words when he stated "[t]his fight for Indian health care is critical. We must get the attention of Congress and the White House to protect our health care and make a difference for our people."

Staff presentations showed the disparity in Indian health care facility funding. The presentations also demonstrated that if health care facilities (and related expenses such as equipment, Electronic Health Records (EHR), and health IT) are not fully funded in this Budget Reconciliation, then Tribal nations must rely on current appropriations.

According to the Indian Health Service, at the existing replacement rate, a new facility on the IHS facility priority list would not be replaced for 400 years. Tribes must reach out to their Congressional Members immediately to seek more funding for Indian health care, particularly facilities and related expenses.

Tribes need to act now to ensure Indian health funding is secured. Encourage your Congressional delegation to consider priorities for Indian Country, by contacting them by phone or email.



Posted August 19, 2021

NIHB and Indian Country United in Seeking Funding in the Budget Reconciliation

The National Indian Health Board (NIHB) led Indian health care efforts in the Intertribal Organization letter dated August 19, 2021 to Congressional leaders seeking funding for Indian programs in the Budget Reconciliation currently underway in Congress. At stake is $3.5 Trillion for implementing portions of the President's domestic agenda as set forth in the Budget Resolutions passed by the Senate and House of Representatives.

Of that $3.5 Trillion, $20.5 Billion has been recommended in the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs for "Native" programs (which could include both Indian and Native Hawaiian programs) and potentially $25.6 Billion in the House of Representatives Natural Resources Committee, to be divided up among 8 subcommittees and programs.

Tribes need to act now to ensure Indian health funding is secured. Encourage your Congressional delegation to consider priorities for Indian Country, by contacting them by phone or email.



Posted August 18, 2021

NIHB to Hold Tribal Caucus to prepare for HHS Tribal Consultation on Mandatory Funding Approaches for the Indian Health Service

The National Indian Health Board (NIHB) is hosting a Tribal Caucus to discuss Mandatory Appropriations for Indian Health Service (IHS) on Monday, August 23, from 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM ET. This caucus will discuss the Dear Tribal Leader Letter sent out by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Becerra on Mandatory Appropriations for the IHS. NIHB is interested in receiving feedback from Tribal leaders, Tribal members, and Tribal communities on how to address the three questions in the letter as well as other questions and concerns from the Department.

The agency will hold Tribal Consultation sessions on Wednesday, August 25 from 1:00pm-4:00 Eastern Time and Wednesday, September 1 from 2:00pm-5:00pm Eastern Time. Comments are accepted by email at [email protected] until September 3, 2021.

Read more.



Posted August 10, 2021

US Senate to Vote on Infrastructure Bill

The Senate will be voting on the Infrastructure package, H.R. 3684, the INVEST in America Act, possibly late, Monday, August 9 or early Tuesday morning, August 10.

This bill contains $550 Billion in new spending and additional funds for existing programs.

Most notably, the bill includes $3.5 Billion for the Indian Health Service (IHS) Sanitation Facilities program and $1 Billion for Tribal Broadband. It also amends the fiscal 2021 omnibus spending and coronavirus relief to expand the availability of Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program grants.

Tribes need to immediately urge their Senator to vote “yes” on this bill, H.R. 3684. Encourage your Congressional delegation to consider priorities for Indian Country, by contacting them by phone or email.

Read NIHB's Legislative Action Alert.



Posted August 4, 2021

National Indian Health Board Submits Testimony to Senate Committee on Indian Affairs in Support of Improved Sanitation Infrastructure

On August 4, the National Indian Health Board (NIHB) submitted testimony to the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs for the July 21 legislative hearing on S. 1797, S. 1895 & H.R. 1688. In the testimony, NIHB expressed support for S. 1895, the Indian Health Service Sanitation Facilities Construction Enhancement Act, which would address the nearly $2.6 billion in construction project backlog identified by the Indian Health Service to address existing drinking water and wastewater needs in its 2019 Annual Report to Congress on Sanitation Deficiency Levels for Indian Homes and Communities.

Read NIHB's full testimony to the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs here



Posted July 30, 2021

U.S. Senate to Consider Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill

The US Senate is currently considering the Bipartisan Infrastructure legislation which would provide additional funding for items such as roads, highways, sanitation, and broadband programs. The Budget Reconciliation resolution is intended to be considered by the Senate after that - before the Senate August recess, currently scheduled for August 6. This measure would govern social programs such as childcare, education, Medicare expansion, and tax cuts for families with children and to purchase health insurance.

Read NIHB’s Legislative Action Alert



Posted July 19, 2021

US House Appropriations Include Centers for Disease Prevention Increases for Indian Country Programs for FY 2022

On July 15, 2021, the House Appropriations Committee advanced their Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 Labor, Health, Human Services, and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS) appropriations bill by a vote of 33-25. Overall, the Labor-HHS bill seeks to approve a 39% increase in its 2022 funding over FY 2021.

The Labor-HHS appropriations legislation contains funding for all other health services and public health programs that are outside of the Indian Health Service budget; including those that have been vital during the COVID-19 public health emergency since declared in March 2020.

Read more



Posted July 7, 2021

House Appropriations Committee Advances FY 2022 Interior Bill; Large Increase for Indian Health Service

On July 1, 2021, the House Appropriations Committee advanced their Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 Interior, Environment and Related Agencies (Interior) appropriations bill by a vote of 32-24. Overall, the Interior bill will receive a 20.2% increase in its allocation over FY 2021, which is the second largest increase among the 12 annual appropriations bills in FY 2022...

Read More



Posted July 7, 2021

House Proposed Appropriations for Health IT Modernization for Indian Country

The House Appropriations Committee proposed language for Health Information Technology (health IT or HIT) modernization in the Department of The Interior, Environment, And Related Agencies Appropriations Bill, 2022. The Bill proposes $284.5 million. While these funds are not yet approved as of this writing, this is an important first step towards ensuring that the Indian health care system has the funding it needs to modernize its IT infrastructure...

Read More



Posted July 1, 2021

National Indian Health Board Submits Testimony to the House Natural Resources Committee

On July 1, the National Indian Health Board submitted testimony to the House Natural Resources Subcommittee for Indigenous Peoples of the United States for the hearing "Examining Federal Facilities in Indian Country." In the testimony, NIHB outlined the dire need for increased funding for Tribal health facilities, including facilities construction and improvement, sanitation facilities, behavioral health facilities and more.

Read NIHB's full testimony to the House Natural Resources Committee here.



Posted June 24, 2021

President Biden Announces Agreement on Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework

On Thursday June 24, President Biden and a coalition of 10 Senators, both Republican and Democrats, reached a deal on a legislative package called the 'Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework' outlining top-line spending levels of $1.2 trillion over eight years to provide long-term investment in America's physical infrastructure. The American Jobs Plan, initially announced by President Biden on March 31, is the Administration's initiative to invest nearly $2.3 trillion for American infrastructure.

On June 21, the National Indian Health Board submitted a letter to Congressional leadership outlining Tribal healthcare infrastructure requests, including $48 billion for full funding of the Indian Health Service, $21 billion for healthcare facilities construction, $3 billion for health IT modernization, and more.

Read more about the plan



Posted June 17, 2021

National Indian Health Board Submits Letter to Congress on the need for Electronic Health Record and Health IT Investment

On June 17, The National Indian Health Board submitted a letter to Congress outlining the need for increased funding for Health Information Technology (HIT) modernization for Indian Health Service (IHS), Tribal health, and urban Indian health systems. NIHB requests that Congress fund Tribes. IHS, and Tribal health programs on a recurring basis for HIT modernization. Additionally, NIHB requests that Congress extends the Medicare Hardship Exception to IHS, Tribal, and Urban Indian health systems for the Medicare Promoting Interoperability Program for an additional five years due to the current HIT's inability to meet the requirements.

NIHB's letter to Congress also includes bill text on modernizing the IHS, Tribal, and Tribal health HIT programs for lawmakers to use for future legislation. Read the full letter to Congress here.



Posted June 1, 2021

President Biden Releases his FY 2022 Congressional Justification

On May 28, President Joseph R. Biden released the Congressional Justification for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 Presidential Budget. The Congressional Justification is the second part of the President’s FY 2022 Discretionary Budget. The first part was the President's FY 2022 Budget Request that was released on April 9, 2021, and provided an overview of the President’s budget priorities. The Congressional Justification provides a more in-depth analysis of the President’s budget requests and proposed funding levels for various federal agencies.

Read NIHB’s analysis of the budget here.



Posted May 19, 2021

NIHB Submits Testimony to the U.S. Senate Finance Committee on Tribal COVID Experiences and Lessons Learned

NIHB submitted written testimony for the record to the U.S. Senate Finance Committee in response to a May 19 hearing on "COVID-19 Health Care Flexibilities: Perspectives, Experiences, and Lessons Learned." The hearing focused on the flexibilities to healthcare access that were created in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency, and hear recommendations on which new policies should be made permanent post-pandemic. NIHB’s testimony focused on Medicare and Medicaid flexibilities dealing with Medicaid reimbursement and telehealth waivers in Indian Country. Read NIHB’s full testimony here and watch the hearing on the committee website here.



Posted May 17, 2021

NIHB Submits Testimony to the Department of Health and Human Services

On May 7, the National Indian Health Board submitted written testimony to the Department of Health and Human Services for the fiscal year 2023 National Tribal Budget Consultation. The testimony outlined Tribal funding requests for various departments throughout HHS including the Indian Health Service, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the National Institutes of Health, the Health Resources and Services Administration and the Office of Minority Health.

Read NIHB’s full testimony here.



Posted April 18, 2021

NIHB Chairman William Smith Testifies before the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs

On April 14, the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs held a hearing on "Examining the COVID-19 Response in Native Communities: Native Health System One Year Later." National Indian Health Board Chairman William Smith of the Valdez Native Tribe testified. Visit the Committee website for the full hearing recording. Read NIHB’s written testimony here.



Posted April 18, 2021

NIHB Joins NCAI Infrastructure Letter to Congress

On April 13, 2021, the National Indian Health Board (NIHB) joined 29 other Tribal organizations in a letter led by the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) outlining the immediate infrastructure needs in Indian Country in response to President Biden’s March 31 announcement of the $2 trillion American Jobs Plan. The letter was submitted to all Congressional committees of jurisdiction, Congressional leadership, and the White House.

NIHB’s asks focused on healthcare facilities infrastructure, public health infrastructure, Tribal health workforce development, and funding and implementation of unfunded provisions in the Indian Health Care Improvement Act. This includes full funding of the Indian Health Service (IHS) at $48 billion, over $31 billion for healthcare facilities construction, $10 billion for a non-competitive Tribal graduate medical education program, a $6 billion Tribal set-aside for medical residency programs, $3 billion for electronic health records and health information technology modernization, and $2.3 billion for Tribal public health infrastructure.

As Congress and the Biden Administration draft the $2 trillion American Jobs Plan, NIHB continues to advocate for further investments in the Indian health system. The full inter-organization letter can be read here.





» View Legislative Archive



Legislative Inquiries:

Erin Morris
Congressional Relations Associate

910 Pennsylvania Ave, SE
Washington, DC 20003
Phone: 202-507-4085
Email: [email protected]