76th Annual  Meeting
The U.S. Conference of Mayors
76th Annual Meeting
June 20-24, 2008
Miami

2008 ADOPTED RESOLUTIONS

URGING SUPPORT FOR THE REAUTHORIZATION OF THE INDIAN HEALTH CARE IMPROVEMENT ACT (HR 1328)

WHEREAS, all people should enjoy the highest possible standard of physical and mental health as a fundamental human right; and

WHEREAS, it is unacceptable that, at this time, American Indians and Alaska Natives experience diabetes, alcoholism, mental health conditions, cancer, hypertension, arthritis, heart disease and other conditions at rates higher than the general population of the United States; and

WHEREAS, the United States government has a trust responsibility to provide health care to American Indians and Alaska Natives and the Indian Health Service (IHS) is the federal agency charged with the responsibility of delivering such health services; and

WHEREAS, the federal Indian Health Care Improvement Act P.L. 94437), enacted by Congress in 1976, along with the Snyder Act of 1921, provides the programmatic and legal framework for administering the health services provided to American Indians and Alaska Natives; and

WHEREAS, the Indian Health Care Improvement Act expired in 2000 and has not yet been reauthorized despite years of diligent efforts by tribal leaders and advocates around the United States; and

WHEREAS, over the last several Congressional sessions, the National Steering Committee for the Reauthorization of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act has worked closely with the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Staff, House Resource Committee Staff, and House Legislative Counsel to refine the Indian Health Care Improvement Act bill language; and

WHEREAS, two bills to reauthorize the Indian Health Care Improvement Act – H.R. 1328, sponsored by Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr., and S. 1200, sponsored by Senator Byron Dorgan have been passed with significant support; and

WHEREAS, the proposed reauthorization bill will modernize and improve the health care of American Indians and Alaska Natives by:

  • Establishing objectives for addressing health disparities:

  • Establishing programs for the delivery of Indian health care services;

  • Authorizing the construction and maintenance of health care and sanitation facilities in American Indian and Alaska Native communities;

  • Modernizing and improving Indian health care services and delivery;

  • Addressing the behavioral and mental health and well-being of American Indian and Alaska Native communities by establishing behavioral health programs in alcohol and substance abuse, social services and mental health;

  • Establishing a continuum of care through integrated behavioral health programs—both prevention and treatment–to address alcohol/substance abuse problems and the social service and mental health needs of American Indian and Alaska Native people;

  • Enhancing the ability of IHS and tribal health programs to attract and retain qualified Indian health care professionals;

  • Allowing for in-home care for the American Indian and Alaska Native elderly population;

  • Facilitating greater decision-making regarding program operations and priorities at the local tribal level in order to improve services to tribal populations.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the United States House of Representatives is strongly urged to pass and fully fund HB 1328, and President George W. Bush to sign into law, the reauthorization of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act in the 110th Congress; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that all actions necessary and appropriate to secure the actions requested in his resolution are taken, including but not limited to working collaboratively with the all Federally-Recognized Indian Pueblos, Tribes, Nations and Alaska Natives.