June 6, 2024

Schatz, Murkowski: Supreme Court Decision is A Win for Indian Country

U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i), chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, and U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), vice chairman of the Committee, released the following statements after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the federal government must reimburse the San Carlos Apache Tribe and the Northern Arapaho Tribe millions of dollars for administrative costs tied to years of tribal-run federal health care services.

“Nearly 50 years ago, Congress enacted the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act to promote Tribal sovereignty. The law allowed Tribes to enter into self-determination contracts and take over their health care services from IHS, with confirmation that the federal government would reimburse their incurred costs. And today, the Supreme Court affirmed IHS’s responsibility to cover all of these costs, including contract support costs. This decision is a huge win for Indian Country, and a powerful reminder of the federal government’s trust and treaty obligations to Tribal Nations,” said Chairman Schatz.

“I am encouraged by this ruling, as it affirms Tribal self-determination under the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act and recognizes that adequate resources are critical to addressing the unmet health care needs of Native people,” said Vice Chairman Murkowski. “I have seen firsthand how self-determination improves the delivery of Indian healthcare in Alaska and across the nation. I will continue working to ensure the federal government fulfills its trust responsibility to Native peoples.”