Indian Country politics and public policy

Commentary by Mark Trahant

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Trahant Reports

Rep. Tom Cole, R-Oklahoma, speaking on C-SPAN Friday morning, said any replacement of the Affordable Care Act should include keeping the Indian Health Care Improvement Act. Cole said this was included in Obamacare as an incentive for Democrats to support the measure.

That’s an interesting interpretation. The reauthorization of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act was blocked by Republicans as well as President Bush. As The New York Times said in 2008: “The nation has clear legal and moral obligations to protect the welfare of Native Americans. Congress must rebuff President Bush’s veto threat and vote overwhelmingly to strengthen and reauthorize the Indian Health Care Improvement Act.”

A year later Democrats rolled the Indian Health Care Improvement Act into the Affordable Care Act because the votes were not there to pass the measure on its own.

That said: It’s important and essential that Cole is willing to argue for a new Indian Health Care Improvement Act as part of Obamacare replacement. (Previous: Tom Cole forges the GOP case for tribal sovereignty.) — Mark Trahant

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