Indian Country politics and public policy

Commentary by Mark Trahant

  Mark Trahant / Trahant Reports What qualifications are needed to manage (and possibly reform?) the Indian health system? It’s Indian Country’s largest employer with more than 15,000 on the payroll and many, many more people who work in health care for tribes, non-profits and other related agencies. The IHS budget is $6.1 billion. Yet it’s …

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Mark Trahant / Trahant Reports Congress has yet to reenact the Children’s Health Insurance Program and states will soon run out of funds to prop up the program. That will mean that thousands of American Indian and Alaska Native children will lose their health insurance. And, the result is the Indian Health Service will have …

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Mark Trahant /Trahant Reports Here we go again: Congress is finding new ways to complicate health care. It really boils down to the philosophy that government-funded health care is just another word for welfare. So it’s a good thing to cut it back and limit it. The other side of that is that funding health …

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Mark Trahant / Trahant Reports Bernie Sanders is expected to introduce his version of health care reform, a plan he calls “Medicare for all.” At least fifteen Democrats have signed on as co-sponsors to the single-payer plan. “This is where the country has got to go,” Sanders told The Washington Post. “Right now, if we …

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A fundamental question about government Mark Trahant / Trahant Reports The most fundamental question about government is this: Does it work? When does government — tribal, state or federal — actually make a difference in our lives? There are two ways to answer that question, data and story. Data tells what happens over time, a reference …

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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 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 Senate bill, like its House counterpart, has a simple message for Indian Country: Don’t get sick. Not in June. Not anytime soon. This bill is not about health care because it takes billions from Medicaid and passes on that savings to wealthy Americans. How bad could it be? …

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