The Coalition of Large Tribes urges the federal government to include Advance Appropriations for the Indian Health Service (“IHS”) in the appropriations bill for FY 2023.
Advance appropriations for the IHS do not cost the federal government another dime, but failure to include IHS as advance appropriations costs Indian Country everything.
Advance appropriations for Indian healthcare would keep the promises the United States made in Treaties to Native Americans. The step would ensure that IHS programs are steadily funded despite uncertainty that comes with Continuing Resolutions, sequestration and government shutdowns. Veterans’ healthcare, one of the only other government-funded healthcare programs, has enjoyed this stability for more than ten years.
It is long past time to stop putting American Indian and Alaska Native lives at stake. It is time for you get this done. Native lives cannot remain at the mercy of government and political instability. We are the only people whose access to critical healthcare is denied by political uncertainty.
Healthcare is a solemn Trust and Treaty obligation and it should not be discretionary. It should be mandatory.
In 2022, COLT adopted a resolution and joined a letter led by the National Indian Health Board addressing these topics (attached). COLT will not relent its efforts to make advance appropriations for IHS the law of the land.
At a minimum, Native Americans and Alaska Natives should have parity with the protections already afforded to Veterans. You are aware that Native American have the highest rate of military service of any ethnic group in the United States. Yet, our Native Veterans are largely dependent on IHS for the healthcare.
Protecting IHS with advance appropriations would protect Native Veterans and all Natives equitably. Please make it happen.Hon. Marvin Weatherwax, COLT Chairman Councilman, Blackfeet Nation Tribal Business Council
You can view and download the resolution and joint letter below: