Congress announces $6 million increase for urban Indian health
National Council of Urban Indian Health
On Monday, December 16, 2019, the House announced a $1.4 trillion bipartisan, bicameral agreement to fund the federal government through fiscal year 2020. The House will begin the process imminently and a vote is expected later in the week.
The bill provides $6.047 billion for the Indian Health Service (IHS), $243 million more than fiscal year 2019 and $138 million more than the President’s budget request. The Indian Health Service will see a 4% increase over FY19. The agreement includes $6 million in additional funds for the Urban Indian Health Programs, a long-overdue increase.
"The National Council of Urban Indian Health endorses the FY20 Minibus Appropriations Bill that includes the highest-ever increase for urban Indian health. Over 41 urban Indian health programs will be able to provide more essential resources to American Indians and Alaska Natives at a time when it is most critical. We are extremely encouraged by Congress coming together with help from countless advocates on both sides of the aisle and both chambers to reach this deal. We are especially grateful to House Interior Chairwoman Betty McCollum and Ranking Member David Joyce and Senators Tom Udall and Chuck Schumer and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell," said Francys Crevier, Executive Director of National Council of Urban Indian Health.
The bill includes increases of $125 million to meet court-ordered requirements for tribal lease operating costs owed to tribes. The bill includes Senate report language directing the Indian Health Service to implement better budget procedures to address this in the future.
The health extenders including the Special Diabetes Program for Indians and Community Health Centers have been extended until May 22, 2020. This date provides additional time for negotiations on a longer-term reauthorization. The National Council of Urban Indian Health will continue to try to ensure the programs are extended for a longer-term, likely 5 years, and to fight for any increases we can for the programs that have not seen any.
The National Council of Urban Indian Health will continue to monitor the process and provide further updates.