Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Trahant: Ryan, GOP wrong on treaty obligations

Mark Trahant has recorded a series on how red states are holding Medicaid expansion as a Sword of Damocles over tribal nations trapped inside their borders. Trahant is a member of the Shoshone-Bannock tribe surrounded by the State of Idaho and a former president of the Native American Journalists Association.

He appeared with Karl Gehrke on Dakota Midday, the flagship broadcast on Bill Janklow's idea of public radio. Trahant addressed the 2013 Joseph Harper Cash Memorial Lecture at the Al Neuharth Media Center: a part of the University of South Dakota. His presentation, “Money in the Cup: The Affordable Care Act and American Indian Health Care,” explores how ACA impacts the Indian Health Service. He calls tribal nations the 51st State in health care.
Paul Ryan is wrong. Way wrong. Ryan said the federal government has “measured compassion by how much we spend instead of how many people get out of poverty." However when it comes to Indian health, Ryan’s War on Poverty review is factually incorrect. The report never mentions the funding shortfall for Indian health, a fact that’s clearly in the public record. The Ryan report doesn’t bother to show that per person spending for Indian health is far below the average cost of care for other citizens. By framing Indian health as a “war on poverty program” it’s easy to dismiss a constitutional promise as just another government program. [Mark Trahant, Indian Country Today]
“If there is a country that has committed unspeakable atrocities in the world, it is the United States of America. They don’t care for human beings.” --Nelson Mandela.
President Barack Obama released his fiscal year 2015 budget today and asked Congress to provide $2.4 billion for the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The amount represents only a small increase from 2014. But it marks a big improvement from 2013, when the BIA took a big hit. The Office of the Special Trustee for American Indians will see $139 million under the fiscal year 2015 budget proposal that President Barack Obama released today. "The budget includes $4.6 billion for the Indian Health Service (IHS) to strengthen Federal, tribal, and urban programs that serve over two million AI/AN at over 650 facilities in 35 States," the White House Office of Management Budget said in a document for the Department of Health and Human Services. The IHS budget provides $617 million for contract support costs. That's an increase from the $587 million in 2014 and $448 million in 2013. The U.S. Supreme Court has twice ruled that the federal government must pay contract support costs for tribes that enter into self-determination agreements. For 2014, the Obama administration has said it will pay all costs and the 2015 budget makes the same promise. [read more at indianz]

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