Monday, July 2, 2012

Sen. Jackson: ACA ruling affirms Indian Health Care Improvement Act

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Senator Jack C. Jackson, Jr. released the following statement on the U.S. Supreme Court's upholding of the Affordable Care Act, which included reauthorization of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act (IHCIA).

Sen. Jackson
"I was thrilled by the U.S. Supreme Court's affirmation of the Affordable Care Act, not only because it was the right decision for all Americans, but because it also included the permanent reauthorization of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act, which has been crucial to the health of many tribal members," said Sen. Jackson.
"The continuation of the IHCIA represents our nation's commitment to American Indians and Alaska Natives, who disproportionately suffer from medical problems."
The IHCIA permanently authorizes daily health care delivery to nearly 2 million American Indians and Alaska Natives served by the Indian Health Service (IHS), who are in critical need of improved health care services. A snapshot of health conditions highlights the critical need for improving health care in Indian Country; Native people suffer from higher rates of diabetes and related illness, heart disease, and substance abuse than any other group.

The IHCIA authorizes new programs within the Indian Health Services to ensure the Service is more equipped to meet its mission to raise the health status of American Indians and Alaska Natives to the highest level, including:
  • Authorities for new and expanded programs for mental and behavioral health treatment and prevention;
  • Expanded authorities for long-term care services, including home health care, assisted living and community-based care;
  • New authorities for development of health professional shortage demonstration programs;
  • Expanded authorities for funding of patient travel costs;
  • New authorities for demonstration projects for innovative health care facility construction;
  • New authorities for the provision of dialysis services;
  • Improvements in the Contract Health Services program, which pays for referrals;
  • New authorities for facilitation of care for Indian veterans; and
  • New authorities for urban Indian health programs.
The passage of the IHCIA on March 23, 2010 represented a fourteen year-long effort by NCAI, tribal leaders, and advocates to make permanent the legislative commitment by the federal government to deliver health care for American Indian and Alaska Natives. The IHCIA was originally passed in 1976 and last reauthorized in 2000.

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