Indian Country politics and public policy

Commentary by Mark Trahant

Mark Trahant / Trahant Reports Here we go again. Another week and the United States Senate is ready to vote on legislation to remake the entire healthcare system, including Indian health. The Senate will do this without a draft circulated for debate, public hearings, or common sense. So what does the replacement bill look like …

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Mark Trahant / Trahant Reports The Senate is broken. Republicans control 52 seats only part of the time. Enough votes to win a majority and pass a judicial nominee. But not enough votes to fix the healthcare legislation sent up by the House. Or, more important, not enough votes to govern. Watch that problem grow …

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Trahant Reports So the Senate (and therefore the House) plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act, destroy Medicaid as we know it, and shell out billions in tax cuts for the wealthy is no more. Monday night Utah Sen. Mike Lee and Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran said they would vote against even debating the Senate …

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When every senator could be the 50th vote, any one absence means no healthcare bill Trahant Reports The Senate healthcare bill looked like it was going to pass on Friday. There were only two public no votes (when three are needed to defeat the measure.) And you can only imagine how much pressure leadership was putting …

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Mark Trahant / Trahant Reports It would be cool, just this once, if the Senate would say, “Indian Country you are so important. So we are adding a special provision to this health care bill that adds big bucks to the Indian Health Service.” Then Senators with significant American Indian or Alaska Native populations would …

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Mark Trahant / Trahant Reports A Senate hearing Wednesday on Indian health illustrates the larger problem exactly: How can you strip millions of dollars from a health care system and get better results? The answer is you cannot. But that’s not what the Trump administration testified. And it’s not what the Senate leadership is saying …

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Mark Trahant / Trahant Reports Last year about now I was pretty much writing all politics all the time. Indian Country had so many good candidates to offer. Interesting resumes. Better ideas. Campaigns that led to a few wins. A few more losses. And that’s life. This year I am pretty much writing about health …

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  Mark Trahant / Trahant Reports I am not sure of the exact year. It probably happened around 1996. That’s when the Indian Health Service became the single largest employer in Indian Country. This makes sense when you think about it: Indian health was once a small (unappreciated) division of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. …

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Senate bill ‘mostly dead,’ but will it revive after break? Mark Trahant / Trahant Reports The Senate’s health care bill is “mostly dead.” But that’s not the same as all dead. And this holiday weekend will decide either the legislation has a second life or if there is a better way to proceed. Republican Senate …

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Mark Trahant / Trahant Reports The Congressional Budget Office report on the Senate majority’s health care bill — the ironically titled “Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017” — ought to be enough to put to rest any idea that Republicans want to improve health care in this country. There are legitimate conservative ideas about how …

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