For Immediate Release
December 22, 2022
Manu Tupper or Mike Inacay (Schatz) at email@example.com
Sarah Feldman (Tester) at 202-228-0371
Lauren Wodarski (Cortez Masto) at 202-821-6169
Shea Necheles (Smith) at firstname.lastname@example.org
Adan Serna (Luján) at email@example.com
Committee Democrats, Native Health Advocates Help Secure Indian Health Service Advance Appropriations
Inclusion In Senate Appropriations Deal Brings IHS Into Parity With Other Federal Health Care Providers
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i), chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs and a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and Senators, Tester, Cortez Masto, Smith, and Luján, members of the Committee, released the following statements on inclusion of advance appropriations for the Indian Health Service (IHS) in the Senate’s appropriations deal. The group of senators sent a letter to congressional leaders and appropriators calling for IHS advance appropriations this past September.
“Advance appropriations will protect IHS programs from service disruptions and other negative impacts caused by funding uncertainty and government shutdowns,” said Chairman Schatz. “It brings IHS into parity with all other federal health care providers and the U.S. closer to upholding its trust responsibility to provide Native communities with quality health care. I thank Native health advocates and members of the Committee for all their hard work to make this years-long effort a reality.”
“Future year funding is critically important to providing continuity and certainty for health care delivery,” Tester said. “I’m proud to have worked with my colleagues on the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs to secure advance appropriations for Native American health programs, so that folks in Indian Country have uninterrupted access to the care and medication they need.”
“I’m proud to have helped secure advance funding for the Indian Health Services so that the IHS can have critical certainty in providing essential health care,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “I’ll continue working in the Senate to make sure that Tribes in Nevada have crucial resources in fulfillment of our treaty obligations.”
“I feel a strong responsibility to hold the federal government accountable for being a reliable partner to Tribes and Native people,” said Senator Tina Smith. “Guaranteeing funding for the Indian Health Service through 2024 is a huge win for Tribal Nations. It means that the federal government is one step closer to meeting its legal, trust and treaty responsibilities to the millions of American Indians and Alaska Natives who rely on the IHS for their health care. Congratulations to the Tribal leaders and Native health advocates who fought for this for decades.”
“In the past, when the federal government shut down, so did health care funding for Tribes and their members. That is unacceptable. Health care for American Indians and Alaska Natives is a trust and treaty responsibility, one that we must ensure is there even during temporary lapses in annual appropriations. That is why I championed the Indian Programs Advance Appropriations Act, which includes advance appropriations for IHS, and fought alongside my colleagues on the Committee to secure this future year funding in the Omnibus. I am extremely pleased to see the historic inclusion of advance appropriations for IHS in the FY23 omnibus appropriations bill that will soon pass in the Senate,” said Senator Luján, a member of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. “Rest assured that I will continue fighting for the rights that Tribes and Pueblos have as part of their unique nation-to-nation relationship with the United States, including federal health care.”
The bill contains more than $5 billion in advance appropriations for IHS – in addition to nearly $7 billion for IHS in FY 2023 – and is expected to pass the Senate and House in the coming days.